In comparison with acute medical care, longer-term management and support have not been as well researched to identify best practice, or to describe what is being provided by each health system. The information presented here on provision of rehabilitation is therefore, for many countries, based on our consultation with health and research professionals and stroke support organisations, and has not been verified.
A small minority of countries regularly check what rehabilitation is being provided to patients in hospital, in at least one region (Bulgaria, Catalonia, Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Slovakia, Sweden, UK). Audits of rehabilitation provision after discharge from acute hospital are rarer (Ireland, UK).
There are ongoing European rehabilitation studies which will provide more reliable data in the future. These include the ESO project Res-Q, which will include a performance measure on early rehabilitation assessment (led by Czech Republic,); and an ongoing study on rehabilitation delivery and outcomes in the Netherlands.
Where data is available, it is not necessarily possible to compare rehabilitation between countries because the studies use different definitions of what rehabilitation or a particular therapy consists of, and different performance measures (e.g. timeframe, patient applicability). For instance, some audits include ‘assessment for rehabilitation (physiotherapy/occupational therapy)’ as a quality indicator (Catalonia, Czech Republic Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Sweden, UK) but there is inconsistency in what time period this is recorded for (e.g. within 48 hours in Catalonia, within 72 hours in UK).