Objectives: To estimate the extent of activity and participation of individuals 6 months poststroke and their influence on health-related quality of life (QOL) and overall QOL, information that would be useful in identifying services that stroke patients would need in the community.
Design: Inception cohort study.
Setting: Ten acute care hospitals in metropolitan areas of the province of Quebec.
Participants: Persons with first-ever stroke, either ischemic or hemorrhagic. In parallel, a population-based sample of community-dwelling individuals without stroke, frequency matched in age and city district, were also recruited.
Interventions: Not applicable.
Main outcome measures: Stroke subjects were interviewed by telephone at 6-month intervals for 2 years of follow-up. The community-dwelling individuals without stroke were also followed.
Results: A total of 434 persons were interviewed approximately 6 months poststroke. Their average age +/- standard deviation was 68.4+/-12.5 years; the average age of the 486 controls was 61.7+/-12.4 years. The stroke group scored on average 90.6/100 on the Barthel Index; 39% reported a limitation in functional activities, 54% reported limitations with higher-level activities of daily living such as housework and shopping, and 65% reported restrictions in reintegration into community activities. By using the Medical Outcomes 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36), persons with stroke rated their physical health 7 points lower than healthy peers; also, 7 of the 8 subscales of the SF-36 were affected by stroke.
Conclusion: Almost 50% of the community-dwelling stroke population lived with sequelae of stroke such that, unless there was a full-time and able-bodied caregiver at home, they needed some form of home help. A large proportion also reported lack of meaningful activity, indicating a need for organized support groups for people with stroke; otherwise, boredom will lead to depression and worsening of function, affect, health status, and QOL.
Copyright 2002 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation