Author(s): Jrgensen HS, Nakayama H, Raaschou HO, Olsen TS
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Abstract BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Stroke represents a major economic challenge to society. The direct cost of stroke is largely determined by the duration of hospital stay, but internationally applicable estimates of the direct cost of acute stroke care and rehabilitation on cost-efficient stroke units are not available. Information regarding social and medical factors influencing the length of hospital stay (LOHS) and thereby cost is needed to direct cost-reducing efforts. METHODS: We determined the direct cost of stroke in the prospective, consecutive, and community-based stroke population of the Copenhagen Stroke Study by measuring the total LOHS in the 1197 acute stroke patients included in the study. All patients had all their acute care and rehabilitation on a dedicated stroke unit. Neurological impairment was measured by the Scandinavian Stroke Scale. Local nonmedical factors affecting the LOHS, such as waiting time for discharge to a nursing home after completed rehabilitation, were accounted for in the analysis. The influence of social and medical factors on the LOHS was analyzed in a multiple linear regression model. RESULTS: The average LOHS was 27.1 days (SD, 44.1; range, 1 to 193), corresponding to a direct cost of $12.150 per patient including all acute care and rehabilitation. The LOHS increased with increasing stroke severity (6 days per 10-point increase in severity; P < .0001) and single marital status (3.4 days; P = .02). Death reduced LOHS (22.0 days; P < .0001). Age, sex, diabetes, hypertension, claudication, ischemic heart disease, atrial fibrillation, former stroke, other disabling comorbidity, smoking, daily alcohol consumption, and the type of stroke (hemorrhage/infarct) had no independent influence on LOHS. CONCLUSIONS: Acute care and rehabilitation of unselected patients on a dedicated stroke unit takes on average 4 weeks. In general, comorbidity such as diabetes or heart disease does not increase LOHS. Efforts to reduce costs should therefore aim at reducing initial stroke severity or improving the rate of recovery.
This article was published in Stroke
and referenced in International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation