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Review: early supported discharge may reduce length of hospital stay in patients with acute stroke, but does not reduce death

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QUESTION: In patients admitted to hospital with acute stroke, do early supported discharge (ESD) services accelerate return to home, improve patient outcomes, and reduce resource use?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching the Cochrane Stroke Group Specialised Register of Controlled Trials in April 2001 (which includes studies identified through searches of Medline, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, BIOSIS, DERWENT Drug File, SCISEARCH, and other databases; and handsearches of selected journals, conference proceedings, and books) and by contacting trialists.

Study selection

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of patients with stroke were included if they compared conventional hospital discharge procedures with alternative services that aimed to accelerate patient discharge from hospital by providing rehabilitation and/or physical support in community settings (ie, ESD). …

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  • Source of funding: Stroke Association UK.

  • For correspondence: Professor P Langhorne, Stroke Unit Trialists’ Collaboration, Glasgow, Scotland, UK.p.langhorne{at}