Every person who has a stroke should have access to needed rehabilitation and skilled nursing services regardless of how they are financing their healthcare, according to a new policy recommendation from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.
Stroke care in the United States should involve an integrated system from the onset of symptoms through post-stroke care, the AHA/ASA said in a 25-page policy statement released Friday. Such a system would reduce post-stroke disability, alleviating costs and improving quality of life. Better interdisciplinary coordination of care would also mean 20,000 fewer deaths in the United States each year, if it reduced stroke-related deaths by just 2% to 3%, the paper states.
Most people who have a stroke require some form of rehabilitation, the AHA/ASA document notes. Discussions about the type and location of post-acute care should involve physicians, nurses, therapists, social workers, discharge planners and case managers.
“Prospective payment systems play a significant role in determining where Medicare patients with stroke … receive their post-acute care,” the statement says. Post-stroke care is linked to geographic variations in Medicare-funded post-acute care, caused by issues such as access to services and local regulations.
Future care should ensure adequate access to post-acute services for those who have had a stroke, regardless of a person’s “financial status or socioeconomic background,” the statement says. This is necessary for ensuring people recover as completely as possible, which will ultimately reduce the economic impacts of stroke.