Journal of rehabilitation medicine : official journal of the UEMS European Board of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine vol:39 issue:1 pages:21-6
OBJECTIVE: To explore the clinical and non-clinical factors involved in decision-making concerning admission to European stroke rehabilitation units. DESIGN: Observational study on case-mix at intake combined with questionnaires and semi-structured interviews with the medical consultants of each European stroke rehabilitation unit. PATIENTS AND SETTINGS: Clinical data on 532 first-ever patients after stroke. Medical consultants from 6 European stroke rehabilitation units in 4 European countries (UK, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland). METHODS: Standardized clinical assessments within 2 days after admission. Questionnaires to each medical consultants followed by a qualitative round of semi-structured interviews. RESULTS: Case-mix of patients after stroke was significantly different between European stroke rehabilitation units. Clinical criteria for admission were seldom explicit and were evaluated differently between the European stroke rehabilitation units. In the UK units, diagnosis of stroke was the only criterion for admission. In the Belgian, German and Swiss units, pre-morbid conditions were taken into account in admission decisions. The likelihood of discharge home was considered highly important in the Swiss units. CONCLUSION: Case-mix differences at intake could be linked to different appraisals of clinical and non-clinical factors of patients after stroke. The findings urge us to be more explicit about decision-making processes at admission in order to provide a more comprehensive insight into the interplay between context and process of care.