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Does inpatient quality of care differ by age among US veterans with ischemic stroke?

Chumbler NR, Jia H, Phipps MS, Li X, Ordin D, Vogel WB, Castro JG, Myers J, Williams LS, Bravata DM. Does inpatient quality of care differ by age among US veterans with ischemic stroke? Journal of stroke and cerebrovascular diseases : the official journal of National Stroke Association. 2012 Nov 1; 21(8):844-51.

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BACKGROUND: Some studies have found that older individuals are not as likely as their younger counterparts to be treated with some guideline-based stroke therapies. We examined whether age-related differences in inpatient quality of care exist among US veterans with ischemic stroke. METHODS: This was a retrospective study of a national sample of veterans admitted to 129 Veterans Affairs medical centers for ischemic stroke during fiscal year 2007. Inpatient stroke care quality was examined across 14 inpatient processes of care, including dysphagia screening, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score documentation, thrombolysis, deep venous thrombosis prophylaxis, antithrombotic therapy by hospital day 2 and at discharge, early ambulation, fall risk assessment, pressure ulcer risk assessment, rehabilitation needs assessment, atrial fibrillation management, lipid management, smoking cessation counseling, and stroke education. RESULTS: Among the 3939 veterans with ischemic stroke, the mean age was 67.8 years (standard deviation, 11.5). The overall performance rate was > 70% for 10 of the 14 quality indicators. In unadjusted analyses, older patients were less likely to receive lipid management, smoking cessation, NIHSS documentation, and early ambulation compared with younger patients; conversely, older patients were more likely to receive dysphagia screening and stroke education. After adjusting for demographic, clinical, and hospital level characteristics, the age-related differences in processes of care were less consistent; however, the youngest patients were more likely to receive smoking cessation counseling and the oldest patients were less likely to receive lipid management. CONCLUSIONS: Risk-adjusted inpatient stroke care quality varies little with age for veterans admitted to a Veterans Affairs medical center for acute ischemic stroke.

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