PURPOSE: Home-time (the number of days spent at home during the first 3 months after stroke) shows a strong association with the modified Rankin scale (mRS). We studied whether Home-time was also a determinant of quality-of-life and medical care costs after ischemic stroke, and assessed factors delaying discharge home.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Five hundred and sixty nine patients participated in a retrospective study when returning for an in-person visit after an ischemic stroke. Home-time, mRS, EQ-5D-3L, inpatient and outpatient resource utilization, use of mobility aids, changes to home and car, comorbidities were recorded.
RESULTS: Each additional Home-time day was significantly associated with an increase in utility of 0.0056 (p < 0.0001) and an in- and outpatient cost saving of $99 (p = 0.0158). Requiring extra material support significantly decreased Home-time by 76 days (including: requiring home changes: -68 days, car alterations: -49 days, needing a wheelchair: -80 days or walker: -71 days, needing bed or bath rails: -79 days). This univariable effect was confirmed in multivariable analysis when comparing with patients having the same disability level without requiring material support.
CONCLUSIONS: Home-time is a stroke outcome associated with disease severity, healthcare costs and patient wellbeing. Streamlining the discharge process for those requiring extra material support may lead to cost savings and higher quality-of-life. Implications for rehabilitation Delays in discharge from the acute hospital or rehabilitation facility are incurred when patients need extra material support in order to return home. Staff from the discharging facility should assist families by giving timely information on the availability and the cost of wheel chairs and walkers; and explaining and planning the need of a stair lift, bed and bath rails as well as car modifications. Planning the discharge process with the families will lead to a more rapid return home and will result in reduced overall health care costs and higher quality of life for the patients.