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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Care for post-stroke patients at Malaysian public health centres: self-reported practices of family medicine specialists

Aznida F Abdul Aziz12*, Nor Azlin Mohd Nordin13, Noor Abd Aziz2, Suhazeli Abdullah4, Saperi Sulong5 and Syed M Aljunid16

Author Affiliations

1 United Nations University International Institute for Global Health, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2 Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre, Jalan Yaacob Latif, Bandar Tun Razak, 56000 Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

3 School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

4 Klinik Kesihatan Marang, Terengganu, Malaysia

5 Department of Health Information, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

6 International Casemix & Clinical Coding Centre, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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BMC Family Practice 2014, 15:40  doi:10.1186/1471-2296-15-40

Published: 2 March 2014

Abstract

Background

Provision of post stroke care in developing countries is hampered by discoordination of services and limited access to specialised care. Albeit shortcomings, primary care continues to provide post-stroke services in less than favourable circumstances. This paper aimed to review provision of post-stroke care and related problems among Family Medicine Specialists managing public primary health care services.

Methods

A semi-structured questionnaire was distributed to 121 Family Physicians servicing public funded health centres in a pilot survey focused on improving post stroke care provision at community level. The questionnaire assessed respondents background and practice details i.e. estimated stroke care burden, current service provision and opinion on service improvement. Means and frequencies described quantitative data. For qualitative data, constant comparison method was used until saturation of themes was reached.

Results

Response rate of 48.8% was obtained. For every 100 patients seen at public healthcentres each month, 2 patients have stroke. Median number of stroke patients seen per month is 5 (IQR 2-10). 57.6% of respondents estimated total stroke patients treated per year at each centre was less than 40 patients. 72.4% lacked a standard care plan although 96.6% agreed one was needed. Patients seen were: discharged from tertiary care (88.1%), shared care plan with specialists (67.8%) and patients who developed stroke during follow up at primary care (64.4%). Follow-ups were done at 8-12 weekly intervals (60.3%) with 3.4% on ‘as needed’ basis. Referrals ranked in order of frequency were to physiotherapy services, dietitian and speech and language pathologists in public facilities. The FMS’ perceived 4 important ‘needs’ in managing stroke patients at primary care level; access to rehabilitation services, coordinated care between tertiary centres and primary care using multidisciplinary care approach, a standardized guideline and family and caregiver support.

Conclusions

Post discharge stroke care guidelines and access to rehabilitation services at primary care is needed for post stroke patients residing at home in the community.

Keywords:
Post stroke; Primary care; Healthcare delivery