Objective: To compare function and quality of life in community-dwelling stroke survivors at 1, 3, and 5 years after stroke. Design: A community-based, cross-sectional study of 3 retrospective cohorts. Setting: Community-dwelling stroke survivors in Australia. Participants: The 3 cohorts comprised 30 participants each at 1, 3, and 5 years poststroke discharge from a tertiary referral hospital. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: Stroke severity, comorbidity, medications used, and demographic information were recorded. Poststroke function was assessed using the Modified Rankin Scale, Mini-Mental State Examination, Stroke Impact Scale, and Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support. Results: This cross-sectional study provides insights into trends in stroke survivors over time. A high proportion of stroke survivors use community services, even those who are independent with activities of daily living. Although there was little attrition in medication use over time except for warfarin, this was from a baseline of suboptimal compliance and adherence with stroke preventive therapies. Stroke survivors report high levels of perceived social support; however, emotional well-being was low overall. The data suggest that those who are independent at 1 year tend to remain independent, although this was an extrapolation from serial cross-sections and needs to be explored in a longitudinal study. Conclusions: Stroke survivors’ function does not change significantly over time. A high proportion of survivors require community services. The development of needs-related effective long-term service delivery models is required.
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Vol. 88, Issue 9, p. 1140-1146