Perceived Unmet Rehabilitation Needs 1 Year After Stroke: An Observational Study From the Swedish Stroke Register

Stroke. 2016 Feb;47(2):539-41. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.115.011670. Epub 2016 Jan 5.


Background and purpose: Met care demands are key aspects in poststroke quality of care. This study aimed to identify baseline predictors and 12-month factors that were associated with perceived unmet rehabilitation needs 1 year poststroke.

Methods: Data on patients who were independent in activities of daily living, hospitalized for acute stroke during 2008 to 2010, and followed up 1 year poststroke through a postal questionnaire were obtained from the Swedish stroke register. Patients reporting fulfilled rehabilitation needs were compared with those with unmet needs (Chi square test).

Results: The study included 37 383 patients, 46% female. At 12 months, 8019 (21.5%) patients reported unmet rehabilitation needs. Compared with those with met rehabilitation needs, patients reporting unmet rehabilitation needs were older (75.4 versus 72.4 years; P<0.0001); a higher proportion was activities of daily living-dependent (59% versus 31.9%; P<0.0001) and institutionalized (24.3% versus 11.5%; P<0.0001) at 12 months. Poststroke depression (32.3% versus 24.9%; P<0.0001) and insufficient pain medication were more common in patients with unmet needs (54.5% versus 32.3%; P<0.0001). Baseline predictors of unmet rehabilitation needs at 12 months in an age-adjusted model were severe stroke (odds ratio [OR]=3.04; confidence interval [CI]: 2.39-3.87), prior stroke (OR=1.63; CI: 1.53-1.75), female sex (OR=1.14; CI: 1.07-1.20), diabetes mellitus (OR=1.24; CI: 1.15-1.32), stroke other than ischemic (OR=1.26; CI: 1.20-1.32), and atrial fibrillation (OR=1.19; CI: 1.12-1.27).

Conclusions: Unfulfilled rehabilitation needs 1 year poststroke are common and associated with high age, dependency, pain, and depression. Long-term follow-up systems should, therefore, be comprehensive and address multiple domains of poststroke problems, rather than having a single-domain focus.

Keywords: follow-up study; quality of care; rehabilitation; stroke care; unmet needs.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health
  • Brain Ischemia / complications
  • Brain Ischemia / epidemiology
  • Brain Ischemia / rehabilitation*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / complications
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / epidemiology
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / rehabilitation*
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Home Care Services*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurological Rehabilitation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pain Management / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Perception
  • Registries*
  • Rehabilitation Centers*
  • Sex Factors
  • Stroke / epidemiology
  • Stroke / etiology
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology