Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Stroke and Nursing Home care: a national survey of nursing homes

Seamus Cowman1*, Maeve Royston2, Anne Hickey2, Frances Horgan3, Hannah McGee2 and Desmond O'Neill4

  • * Corresponding author: Seamus Cowman

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2. Ireland

2 Department of Psychology, Division of Population Health, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland

3 School of Physiotherapy, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland

4 Centre for Ageing Neurosciences and the Humanities, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland

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BMC Geriatrics 2010, 10:4  doi:10.1186/1471-2318-10-4

Published: 27 January 2010



Although stroke is recognised as a major factor in admission to nursing home care, data is lacking on the extent and nature of the disabilities and dependency in nursing homes arising from stroke. A national study conducted in nursing homes can quantify the number of residents with stroke in nursing homes, their disability and levels of dependency.


A cross-sectional survey research design was used. A total of 572 public and private nursing homes were identified nationally and a stratified random selection of 60 nursing homes with 3,239 residents was made. In half of the nursing homes (n = 30) efforts were made to interview all residents with stroke Survey instruments were used to collect data from residents with stroke and nursing home managers on demography, patient disability, and treatment.


Across all nursing homes (n = 60), 18% (n = 570) of the residents had previously had a stroke. In homes (n = 30), where interviews with residents with stroke (n = 257), only 7% (n = 18) residents were capable of answering for themselves and were interviewed. Data on the remaining 93% (n = 239) residents were provided by the nursing home manager. Nurse Managers reported that 73% of residents with stroke had a high level of dependency. One in two residents with stroke was prescribed antidepressants or sedative medication. Only 21% of stroke residents were prescribed anticoagulants, 42% antiplatelets, and 36% cholesterol lowering medications. Stroke rehabilitation guidelines were lacking and 68% reported that there was no formal review process in place.


This study provides seminal findings on stroke and nursing home services in Ireland. We now know that one in six nursing home residents in a national survey are residents with a stroke, and have a wide range of disabilities. There is currently little or no structured care (beyond generic care) for stroke survivors who reside in nursing homes in Ireland.