Background: Follow-up examinations in a rehabilitation center clinic after stroke are essential for coordinating post-acute services and monitoring patient progress. Of first-stroke patients discharged from our rehabilitation ward to the community 92% are invited for ambulatory check-up once every 6 months.
Objectives: To review patient complaints at follow-up and the recommendations issued by the attending physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at the outpatient clinic.
Methods: We extracted relevant data from the records, and assessed the relationship between functional status on admission and discharge (measured by FIM), length of stay, and number of complaints. Patients were divided according to the side of neurologic damage, etiology, whether the stroke was a first or recurrent event, and main clinical syndrome (neglect or aphasia).
Results: Patients' complaints included: decreased hand function (40%), general functional deterioration (20%), difficulty walking (11%), speech dysfunction (10%), various pains (especially in plegic shoulder) (8%), urine control (2%), sexual dysfunction (3%), swallowing difficulties (2%), and cognitive disturbances (2%). Patients received the following recommendations: physiotherapy (52.5%), occupational therapy (37.5%), speech therapy (12.5%), different bracing techniques (22.5%), pain clinic treatment (12.5%), changing medication prescriptions (7.5%), psychological treatment (10%), sexual rehabilitation (5%), vocational counseling (2.5%), counseling by social workers (2.5%), and recurrent neuropsychological diagnosis (2.5%). A reverse correlation was found between the number of complaints and FIM at admission (P = 0.0001) and discharge (P = 0.0003), and between LOS and FIM at admission (P = 0.0001) and discharge (P = 0.004). A direct correlation was found between the number of complaints and LOS (P = 0.029). No relation was found between age, type of stroke, first and recurrent event, and clinical syndromes and patient complaints in the outpatient rehabilitation. Community rehabilitation services met 58% of all recommendations in 62% of patients, mainly physiotherapy and occupational therapy, with 34% of patients waiting for implementation of the recommendations and 4% not available for follow-up.
Conclusions: Follow-up examinations should be an integral part of post-stroke rehabilitation. Rehabilitation treatment in the community must be strengthened.