AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 28, Number 2, 2019

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Hospitals Vary Widely in Transitioning From Treatment to Comfort Care After Stroke

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Hospitals vary widely in how often they transition people with strokes from active treatment to comfort or hospice care within 48 hours after they get to the hospital, according to a new study. “End-of-life and palliative care plays an important role with stroke, since the death rate is high, yet there has been limited data on the transition from treatment to comfort care,” said study author Shyam Prabhakaran, MD, MS, of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. For the study, researchers looked at data on 963,525 people hospitalized for stroke in 1,675 hospitals over a four-year period. Of those people, 54,794 were given an order for early comfort measures only. Researchers found overall 5.6 percent of people were transitioned to early comfort measures only, but the percentage varied widely by hospital, from just 0.6 percent of those with stroke in some hospitals up to 37.6 percent in others. Transitioning people to early comfort measures only did decline over the four-year period of 2009 to 2013, from 6.1 percent to 5.4 percent.

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