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first-time stroke patients, functional recovery, longitudinal study, psychological distress, time-varying variable



  1. Liu, Kuei Fen
  2. Lin, Hung Ru
  3. Lee, Tzu-Ying
  4. Lin, Kuan Chia


ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Evaluation of stroke recovery outcome is crucial and a major goal of clinical practice. A recovery trajectory model serves as a prognostic tool that enables development of effective intervention and long-term management to improve poststroke recovery outcomes. This study explored time-varying risk factors associated with the progression of functional recovery and psychological distress poststroke. METHODS: Participants were patients with first-ever stroke who underwent assessment for activities of daily living, psychological distress, and social support at the onset (within 72 hours) and at 1, 3, and 6 months. A generalized estimation equation was used to account for the correlation between the repeated measurements. RESULTS: Of the 101 patients, 60.4% were men, and the mean (SD) age was 63.06 (13.12) years. Over time, the physical functions of patients after stroke significantly increased, and anxiety and depression significantly decreased. Approximately 50% of patients achieved full functional recovery after 6 months. The time-varying risk factors for National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale scores and depression levels affected the trajectory of functional recovery during follow-up. Factors associated with patient anxiety levels were National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale scores and depression levels. Factors associated with patient depression levels included education, anxiety, and social support levels. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates the progression of time-varying risk factors for functional recovery and psychological distress in patients with first-ever stroke. We recommend that nurses work with patients and their families in the early poststroke stages to identify comprehensive goals based on individual needs and related factors at different stages and that they educate patients on what is required for them to regain independence.