Post-stroke care should be 'uniform' across age groups, study finds

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Post-stroke treatments can benefit older people as much as younger ones, according to recently published research from the University of Georgia.

A UGA research team led by Neale Chumbler, Ph.D., looked at medical records of nearly 3,200 stroke patients treated at Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers.

After examining a variety of health indicators, such as depression symptoms, responses to blood thinning medications and average blood pressure, the researchers found outcomes for similar care regimens did not differ based on age at the six-month mark after an ischemic stroke.

Their findings suggest that post-stroke care should not be unduly influenced by a person's age. Blood pressure goals tend to be higher for older patients, and treatment for depression is more common for younger people.

"Traditionally, preventative care has not been as aggressive for older patients,” Chumbler said. “This research shows it is just as important for people in their 80s as it is for those in their 50s."

While the UGA research focused on post-stroke treatments done on an outpatient basis, it suggests that long-term care providers may want to assess how uniform their care plans are for residents who have had a stroke.

The study appears in the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development.