Background The need for stroke care is escalating with an ageing population, yet methods to estimate the delivery of effective care across countries are not standardised or robust. Associations between quality and intensity of care and stroke outcomes are often assumed but have not been clearly demonstrated.
Objective To examine variations in acute care processes across six European populations and investigate associations between the delivery of care and survival.
Methods Data were obtained from population-based stroke registers of six centres in France, Lithuania, UK, Spain, Poland and Italy between 2004 and 2006 with follow-up for 1 year. Variations in the delivery of care (stroke unit, multidisciplinary team and acute drug treatments) were analysed adjusting for case mix and sociodemographic factors using logistic regression methods. Unadjusted and adjusted survival probabilities were estimated and stratified by levels of Organised Care Index.
Results Of 1918 patients with a first-ever stroke registered, 30.7% spent more than 50% of their hospital stay in a stroke unit (13.9–65.4%) among centres with a stroke unit available. The percentage of patients assessed by a stroke physician varied between 7.1% and 96.6%. There were significant variations after adjustment for confounders, in the organisation of care across populations. Significantly higher probabilities of survival (p<0.01) were associated with increased organisational care.
Conclusions This European study demonstrated associations between delivery of care and stroke outcomes. The implementation of evidence-based interventions is suboptimal and understanding better ways to implement these interventions in different healthcare settings should be a priority for health systems.
- Evidence-Based Neurology
- Cerebrovascular Disease
- Health Policy & Practice