Aim of the study: To analyse the costs of stroke in the first year covered by insurance companies and to correlate them with the clinical outcome data.
Methods: We contacted the insurance companies of 172 consecutive stroke patients of a single institution cohort for a detailed report of the stroke costs. A complete data set over one year was obtained from 131 patients (76%).
Results: Severity of stroke was significantly associated with increasing total costs (p = 0.0002). The rehabilitation clinic made up 37% of the total costs followed by nursing home with 21% and acute hospital with 21%. Mean cost of stroke per patient was 31,115 CHF in the first year. Costs per patient for inpatient rehabilitation were similar to those for the nursing home after one year; however, the Barthel-index of patients with inpatient rehabilitation increased by 42 +/- 29 points as compared to patients without inpatient rehabilitation by 23 +/- 26 points (p <0.05), and 86% resp. 81% of patients with inpatient stroke rehabilitation lived independently after 6 and 12 months respectively.
Conclusions: The high level of independence after inpatient stroke rehabilitation underlines the importance of patient selection and/or rehabilitation. Therefore, long-term stroke costs may be significantly reduced by an early and careful triage in the case management after stroke and a case-dependent investment in initial costly appearing inpatient rehabilitation.