Cognitive functioning in the acute phase poststroke: a predictor of discharge destination?

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2011 Nov;20(6):549-55. doi: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2010.03.009. Epub 2010 Sep 15.


Cognitive dysfunction occurs in more than half of stroke survivors and can have far-reaching consequences for functioning in daily life. Assessment of cognitive function can play a major role in determining the appropriate discharge destination after a hospital stay. The present study aimed to determine the feasibility of cognitive screening in the acute phase poststroke and to investigate whether this cognitive screening can accurately predict discharge destination to either a dependent or an independent living situation. A total of 287 patients with a first-ever cerebral stroke consecutively admitted to a stroke unit of a general hospital were eligible for the study. All patients underwent neuropsychological screening, consisting of the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Cognitive Screening Test (CST), and Clock-Drawing Test, within 7 days poststroke. Screening was feasible in 73.2% of the patients. Logistic regression analysis showed that the Barthel Index (BI) score (ie, ability to perform activities of daily living) could predict the discharge destination with 47% explained variance when age and BI score were taken into account. Adding the 3 cognitive tests to the model with age and BI improved the explained variance substantially (53%), with a significant contribution of BI and CST. Cognitive screening in the acute phase poststroke appeared to be feasible and capable of supporting the decision of whether to discharge a patient to home or to a dependent living situation. Functional status improved the predictive value of the model; the MMSE was not suitable for prediction. A comprehensive set of various predictors, including cognition, is recommended to support discharge planning.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Cognition Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Cognition*
  • Decision Support Techniques
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Homes for the Aged
  • Humans
  • Independent Living*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Nursing Homes
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Rehabilitation Centers*
  • Residential Facilities*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / complications
  • Stroke / diagnosis*
  • Stroke / psychology
  • Stroke Rehabilitation
  • Time Factors