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Stroke survivors 'should be given prescription when discharged'

Stroke survivors 'should be given prescription when discharged'
2nd September 2014

Individuals who experience a stroke should be handed a prescription when they leave hospital, as this will give them a higher chance of continuing to take their medication. 

This is according to new data from researchers in Toronto, who discovered that patients were up to 70 per cent more likely to administer their treatment one year after they were discharged if a prescription was in their hand as they left the hospital.

After two years, those who received a prescription in this way were 40 per cent more likely to be still taking their medication. 

Continuing to take treatment - which can include statins and antihypertensives - after a stroke is of vital importance because the risk of a subsequent one can be slashed by as much as 80 per cent if stroke rehabilitation procedures are adhered to. 

Lead author Dr Gustavo Saposnik, who is also director of the Stroke Research Unit of St. Michael's Hospital, said a reason for this was that, at the time of discharge, the lion's share of patients had other concerns. These often included what would happen during rehab, or what would happen when they got home - not whether or not they had a prescription for their medication. 

"Patients have other things on their minds after a stroke and it's up to us to give them the tools they need to thrive," Dr Saposnik said.

Researchers looked at information from 11 different stroke centres to see whether or not residents from Ontario were still taking the medication a week, a year and two years after initially experiencing a stroke. 

"There are still things we can do to help patients receive better quality, long-term care after a stroke. And the first thing on that list is giving each patient a prescription before he or she leaves as part of discharge planning," Dr Saposnik added. 

Common reasons why individuals may not receive a prescription at the time of discharge include the assumption one will be given by a family doctor, or that it has been dictated in the chart but not directly given to the patient. 

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