According to data presented at the Canadian Stroke Congress, home delivery of stroke rehabilitation improves care, eliminates lists for treatment, and potentially saves hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in hospital costs. The data yields from a quality improvement project, Early Supported Discharge, introduced as a permanent part of the Calgary Stroke Program in 2011. The release reports that the program has resulted in equally good or better cognition, communication, and physical function for individuals who receive therapy in their own homes as opposed to in a hospital or facility.

The program has reportedly reduced lengths of stay in inpatient rehabilitation by an average of 12 days, and saved approximately $1 million in the first year. The release also notes that the 160 Calgary residents who received therapy in their homes for an average of 5 weeks following stroke, exhibited significant improvements in knowledge use, upper limb use, domestic life, and intrapersonal interactions. Individualized therapy occurs three times to five times a week, for up to 8 weeks, explains Darren Knox, project lead, unit manager of the Calgary Stroke Program.

The Calgary team reports that it places its focus on skills necessary for meaningful activities of daily living in the community. “Addressing multiple areas of care everyday keeps the person with stroke interested and motivated, which leads to a higher intensity of care, better carry-over from rehabilitation to real life, and faster improvements in a shorter period of time,” Knox says. 

Ian Joiner, director of stroke for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, echoes Knox’s sentiment, adding that the program, “demonstrates the benefits of focusing on clients’ individual needs and aspirations following stroke.”

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Source: Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada