Background Stroke patients benefit from rehabilitation for at least one year after the onset of symptoms. The aim was to investigate how recommended outpatient rehabilitation was put into practice in the Päijät-Häme district, and to determine differences within the region.
Methods Retrospective study based on the patient registry data. Data were collected over the first year on patients at Päijät-Häme Central Hospital who had been diagnosed with acute stroke (I60–I64) in 2013.
Results Some 34% of the 344 patients received a recommendation for outpatient therapy, and 38% received outpatient therapy during the first year after the stroke. Of the patients who received a recommendation, 75% attended outpatient rehabilitation. Recommended outpatient therapies were carried out more often among patients of smaller primary care centres compared to those based in the city of Lahti. Site-specific differences were observed in the scheduling of outpatient rehabilitation.
Conclusions The outpatient rehabilitation of stroke patients was carried out fairly well in Päijät-Häme in terms of the recommendations of the Finnish Brain Association. More patients engaged in outpatient therapy than were given recommendations for it. It is possible that some of the rehabilitation recommendations were not registered at the time of discharge, which may hamper the rehabilitation process. The waiting time for outpatient rehabilitation was too long. More resources and consistent care practices are needed to develop clinical pathways and outpatient rehabilitation services.