Health, function and disability in stroke patients in the community

Braz J Phys Ther. 2016 Jul-Aug;20(4):355-66. doi: 10.1590/bjpt-rbf.2014.0171. Epub 2016 Jun 20.


Background: Stroke patients commonly have impairments associated with reduction in functionality. Among these impairments, the motor impairments are the most prevalent. The functional profile of these patients living in the community who are users of the primary health-care services in Brazil has not yet been established.

Objective: To describe the functional profile of stroke patients who are users of the primary health-care services in Brazil, looking at one health-care unit in the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Method: From medical records and home visits, data were collected regarding health status, assistance received following the stroke, personal and environmental contextual factors, function and disability, organized according to the conceptual framework of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). Test and instruments commonly applied in the assessment of stroke patients were used.

Results: Demographic data from all stroke patients who were users of the health-care unit (n=44, age: 69.23±13.12 years and 67±66.52 months since the stroke) participated of this study. Most subjects presented with disabilities, as changes in emotional function, muscle strength, and mobility, risks of falling during functional activities, negative self-perception of quality of life, and perception of the environment factors were perceived as obstacles. The majority of the patients used the health-care unit to renew drug prescriptions, and did not receive any information on stroke from health professionals, even though patients believed it was important for patients to receive information and to provide clarifications.

Conclusion: Stroke patients who used primary health-care services in Brazil have chronic disabilities and health needs that require continuous health attention from rehabilitation professionals. All of these health needs should be considered by health professionals to provide better management as part of the integral care of stroke patients, as recommended by the clinical practice guidelines for stroke rehabilitation.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Brazil
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Stroke / physiopathology*
  • Stroke Rehabilitation / standards*