Background: The Canadian Best Practice Recommendations for Stroke Care suggest that (1) all patients with stroke should be screened for cognitive impairment and (2) persons who are detected as having cognitive impairment on a screening test should receive additional cognitive assessment. The purpose of this study is to determine whether care in an Ontario inpatient stroke rehabilitation facility is consistent with these recommendations.
Methods: Stroke patients discharged from an inpatient stroke rehabilitation program located in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, from May to October 2009 were included in this study. Charts were reviewed to identify current screening and assessment practices. The percentages of patients formally screened and/or assessed as well as differences between those who were and were not screened are reported.
Results: The study included 123 patients (62 male; mean age = 67.3,SD 15.1). During inpatient rehabilitation, 82.9% of patients were screened using a formal cognitive screening instrument. Patients with cognitive and/or communication deficits were significantly less likely to be screened than those with intact cognitive and communicative abilities. Although 77.5% of those screened scored below the threshold for cognitive impairment, evidence of referral for a comprehensive cognitive assessment was found for only 3 patients.
Conclusions: Although the majority of patients were screened for cognitive impairment while in inpatient rehabilitation, few patients were referred for a comprehensive diagnostic examination. On the basis of these results from a single inpatient stroke rehabilitation unit, it appears that specific cognitive deficits are likely underidentified in stroke rehabilitation patients in Ontario.