Direct cost related to stroke. A longitudinal analysis of survivors after discharge from a rehabilitation hospital
BACKGROUND:After discharge from a rehabilitation hospital, stroke survivors and their families may face considerable stroke-related direct costs. The total amount could be ascribed to the costs of formal and informal care and to the equipment or materials needed for care. OBJECTIVES:This study aims to describe the direct costs incurred after a stroke by survivors during their first poststroke year and to analyze the basic predictors of these costs. METHODS:Stroke survivors (N = 415) were enrolled for this study during discharge from rehabilitation hospitals (baseline) and interviewed at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after discharge for a longitudinal study. The trend of the direct costs incurred during the follow-up (from T1 to T4; n = 239) was evaluated using a linear mixed-effects model. The mixed-effects model was used to identify the baseline predictors of the incurred direct costs from the stroke survivors. RESULTS:During the first year after discharge, stroke survivors spent approximately $3700 on stroke-related direct (ie, medical and nonmedical) costs. The highest direct costs occurred during the first 6 months, although there was not a significant change over time. The higher direct costs incurred were predicted by the linear effect of time, by the educational level (higher vs low), and by the lower Barthel Index score, whereas a higher perceived cost was predicted only by the linear effect of time and by the lower Barthel Index score. CONCLUSION:In the first poststroke year, direct costs have remained stable over time and can be predicted by the level of education and physical functioning. The identification of specific direct cost predictors would be helpful for developing more socially and economically tailored interventions for stroke survivors in their first year after their stroke.