Comparison of Two Post-Stroke Rehabilitation Programs: A Follow-Up Study among Primary versus Specialized Health Care.

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To compare home-based rehabilitation (RITH) and standard outpatient rehabilitation in a hospital setting, in terms of improving the functional recovery and quality of life of stroke patients. This was a prospective cohort study in Andalusia (Spain). One hundred and forty-five patients completed the outcome data. Daily activities were measured by the Barthel index, Canadian Neurological Scale (to assess mental state), Tinetti scale (balance and gait), and Short Form Health Survey-36 (SF-36 to compare the quality of life). No statistically significant differences were found between the two groups regarding the clinical characteristics of patients in the initial measurement, except for age and mental state (younger and with greater neurological impairment in the hospital group). After physical therapy, both groups showed statistically significant improvements from baseline in each of the measures. These improvements were better in RITH patients than in the hospital patients on all functionality scales with a smaller number of sessions. Home rehabilitation is at least as effective as the outpatient rehabilitation programs in a hospital setting, in terms of recovery of functionality in post-stroke patients. Overall quality of life is severely impaired in both groups, as stroke is a very disabling disease that radically affects patients' lives.
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