Stroke: A leading cause of disability in urban India

With over 1.5 million cases of stroke reported in the country each year, the incidence has increased by a staggering 17.5% during the last 15 years, says study. Despite availability of excellent health care services, increased awareness regarding prevention and identification of stroke symptoms, stroke remains a leading cause of disability with urban India at one-and-a-half times at greater risk than rural India

Stroke: A leading cause of disability in urban India
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  • Multiple studies over the past have revealed that stroke is a huge problem in the country.
  • Now, a Bangalore based study revealed that male versus female incidence is 2:1, i.e., men are at greater risk than women.
  • It also concluded that stroke is no more a disease of the elderly; it has now become more common among younger patients in their late 20’s and 30’s leading to premature loss of productive lives and adding on to the disease burden in India.

There has been a lot of focus on preventing strokes and measures taken to manage the risk factors. However, there is limited evidence available regarding the patient’s journey after discharge from hospitals after a stroke.

In order to bridge this gap, Nightingales Home Healthcare Services has conducted a survey about stroke rehabilitation among neurologists. For the first time, a quantitative survey was conducted among 31 Neurologists who treat stroke patients on a daily basis. The research was conducted across 3 cities: Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad.

Key findings of the research include:

  • Findings are consistent with a population based stroke survey done in Mumbai in 2008 which suggests that patients with stroke are not accessing appropriate healthcare probably due to non-affordability and difficulty in conveyance.
  • The availability of multi-disciplinary services is on the rise but the awareness around how that might help patients and their family members is still relatively low.
  • Another interesting finding was that patients’ drop out of rehabilitation due to lack of motivation due to severity of disability (56%) and lengthy rehabilitation phase (29%) – a very important finding since effects of a stroke are very complex in nature and patients’ might be taking rehabilitation for years together which requires a lot of dedication by the patient and the therapist to see positive outcomes.
  • Physiotherapy (77%) is by far the most often top-of-mind service offered that neurologists recalled to be included in a home rehab programme also widely accepted by patients.
  • 77% neurologists felt that family members learn the exercises and treat patients at home without any therapists’ supervision which adds on to their existing challenge and burden of accompanying patients’ for their appointments.

Stroke: A leading cause of disability in urban India

Commenting on the report, Dr Akshata Rao (PT), Product Lead – Stroke Rehabilitation at Nightingales Home Health Services said, “Home rehabilitation as a concept is considered a feasible option by majority of the neurologists owing to the associated benefits/drivers such as compliance, access, cost effectiveness and multidisciplinary services among others. Early comprehensive rehabilitation post stroke and compliance to prescribed rehabilitation program increases patients’ changes for a better recovery and resume their daily activities with minimal support.