Patients with Greater Stroke Severity and Premorbid Disability Are Less Likely to Receive Therapist Consultations and Intervention during Acute Care Hospitalization

Academic Article


  • A substantial number of patients with stroke never receive acute care therapy services, despite the fact that therapy after stroke reduces the odds of death and disability and improves patients' functioning. Objective: The aim of this study was to estimate the proportion of and factors associated with receipt of therapist consultations and interventions during acute care hospitalization following ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. Design: This was a single-center longitudinal observational study. Methods: Adults with a diagnosis of ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke (N = 1366) were enrolled during their hospitalization in an acute stroke center in a large metropolitan area. The main outcomes were receipt of therapist consultations, interventions, or both. Results: Participants with acute hemorrhagic stroke (intracerebral: odds ratio [OR] = 0.34 [95% CI = 0.19-0.60]; subarachnoid: OR = 0.52 [95% CI = 0.28-0.99]) and with greater stroke severity by National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score (NIHSS score of > 15: OR = 0.34 [95% CI = 0.23-0.51]) were less likely to receive therapist consultations. Participants with moderate stroke severity (NIHSS score of 6-15: OR = 1.43 [95% CI = 1.01-2.33]) were more likely to receive therapy interventions. Those who were able to ambulate before admission were more than 5 times as likely to receive therapy interventions (OR = 5.08 [95% CI = 1.91-13.52]). Also, participants with longer lengths of stay (ie, more intensive care unit and non-intensive care unit days) were more likely to receive therapist consultations and interventions. Tests or procedures were the most common reasons for unsuccessful attempts to complete therapist consultations. Limitations: Lack of operational and qualitative data prohibited detailed explorations of barriers to delivery of therapist consultations and interventions. Conclusions: Approximately 1 in 4 participants with acute stroke received neither a consultation nor an intervention. Efforts to improve the delivery of acute care therapy services are needed to optimize care for these people.
  • Published In

  • Physical Therapy  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Capo-Lugo CE; Askew RL; Naidech A; Prabhakaran S
  • Start Page

  • 1431
  • End Page

  • 1442
  • Volume

  • 99
  • Issue

  • 11