Evidence lacking on optimal transition-of-care programs for heart attack and stroke patients following hospitalization

Research Activities, January 2012, No. 377

Few studies support the adoption of any specific transition-of-care program as a matter of health policy, according to a new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Despite advances in the quality of acute-care management of stroke and heart attacks, gaps in knowledge persist about effective programs that improve the post-hospitalization quality of care for patients who have undergone a stroke or heart attack.

Researchers at AHRQ's Duke University Evidence-based Practice Center, who conducted the evidence review, found no interventions that consistently improved functional recovery after stroke or heart attack. None seemed to consistently improve quality of life or factors such as anxiety or depression. The researchers, led by DaiWai M. Olson, Ph.D., found that some components of care transition, such as early supported discharge from hospital with rehabilitation at home following stroke, appear to shorten the length of hospital stay without increased death rates or adverse effects on functional recovery. Additionally, specialty care followup after a heart attack was associated with reduced mortality.

Researchers noted that additional research is needed before any conclusion can be reached that a specific care transition approach is effective and worthy of widespread adoption.

You can access a copy of the report, Transition of Care for Acute Stroke and Myocardial Infarction Patients: From Hospitalization to Rehabilitation, Recovery, and Secondary Prevention.

Current as of January 2012
Internet Citation: Evidence lacking on optimal transition-of-care programs for heart attack and stroke patients following hospitalization: Research Activities, January 2012, No. 377. January 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/jan12/0112RA31.html