Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation vol:16 issue:1 pages:20-26
Background: Our understanding of the components of stroke rehabilitation critical to patients' outcomes is limited. Comparing practices and outcomes across countries may give clues to how to improve rehabilitation services. Method: In the CERISE project (Collaborative Evaluation of Rehabilitation in Stroke across Europe), clinical and organisational aspects of stroke rehabilitation were compared among four European rehabilitation centres (United Kingdom, Belgium, Switzerland, and Germany). Main findings were summarised and interpreted. Results: Gross motor and functional recovery were significantly better in the German and Swiss centres compared to the British centre, respectively. Insights in admission criteria, patients' therapy time, content of therapy, and task characteristics of physiotherapists and occupational therapists were in line with the differences in recovery. In Germany, neurorehabilitation is more structured with clearly defined phases, each linked with specific criteria and reimbursement schemes. In Belgium, more variation exists in the rehabilitation trajectories. Conclusion: Stroke rehabilitation services are embedded in health care systems, creating contextual constraints with various (dis)incentives. These constraints vary between countries, resulting in differences in the organisation of stroke rehabilitation. Studies on the effectiveness of stroke rehabilitation should incorporate contextual elements of the organisation of the unit.