Background and Purpose— Many stroke patients and informal carers experience a decreased quality of life after discharge home and are dissatisfied with the care received. We assessed the effectiveness of an outreach nursing care program.
Methods— In a multicenter trial, 536 stroke patients were randomized at discharge to standard care (n=273) or standard care plus outreach care (n=263). The outreach care consisted of 3 telephone calls and 1 home visit within 5 months after discharge by 1 of 13 stroke nurses. Patients were masked for the trial objectives. Six months after discharge, they assessed the 2 primary outcomes: quality of life (Short Form 36 [SF-36]) and dissatisfaction with care. Secondary measures of outcome were disability, handicap, depression, anxiety, and use of health care services and secondary prevention drugs. Informal carers assessed strain, and social support. Analysis was by intention to treat.
Results— Twelve patients died before follow-up, 38 declined outcome assessment, and 486 completed the primary outcome assessments. Outreach care patients had better scores on the SF-36 domain “Role Emotional” than controls (mean difference 7.9 [95% confidence limit, 0.1 to 15.7]). No statistically significant differences were found on the other primary outcome measures. For secondary outcomes, no statistically significant differences were found, except that intervention patients used fewer rehabilitation services (relative risk, 0.66 [0.44 to 1.00]) and had lower anxiety scores (median difference 1 [0.19 to 2.79]).
Conclusions— This outreach nursing stroke care was not effective in improving quality of life and dissatisfaction with care of recently discharged patients.