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Open Access Study protocol

Gothenburg very early supported discharge study (GOTVED) NCT01622205: a block randomized trial with superiority design of very early supported discharge for patients with stroke

Katharina S Sunnerhagen1*, Anna Danielsson1, Lena Rafsten1, Ann Björkdahl1, Åsa B Axelsson2, Åsa Nordin1, Cathrine A Petersson1, Åsa Lundgren-Nilsson1 and Karin Fröjd1

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

2 Institute of Health and Care Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

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BMC Neurology 2013, 13:66  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-13-66

Published: 24 June 2013



Stroke is the disease with the highest costs for hospital care and also after discharge. Early supported discharge (ESD) has shown to be efficient and safe and the best results with well-organised discharge teams and patients with less severe strokes.

The aim is to investigate if very early supported discharge (VESD) for stroke patients in need for on-going individualised rehabilitation at home is useful for the patient and cost effective.


A randomized controlled trial comparing VESD with ordinary discharge. Inclusion criteria: confirmed stroke, >18 years of age, living within 30 min from the stroke unit, on day 2 0–16 points on the National institute of health stroke scale (NIHSS) and 50–100 points on the Barthel Index (BI), with BI 100 then the patient can be included if the Montreal Cognitive Assessment is < 26. Exclusion criteria are: NIHSS >16, BI < 50, life expectancy < 1 year, inability to speak or to communicate in Swedish. The inclusion occurs on day 4 and in block randomization of 20 and with blinded assessor.

Primary outcome: levels of anxiety and depression. Secondary outcomes: independence, security, level of function, quality of health, needs of support in activities of daily living and caregiver burden.

Power calculation is based on the level of anxiety and with a power of 80%, p-value 0.05 (2 sided test) 44 persons per group are needed. Data is gathered on co-morbidity, re-entry to hospital, mortality and a health economic analysis. Interviews will be accomplished with a strategic sample of 15 patients in the intervention group before discharge, within two weeks after homecoming and 3 months later. Interviews are also planned with 15 relatives in the intervention group 3 months after discharge.


The ESD studies in the Cochrane review present hospital stays of a length that no longer exist in Sweden. There is not yet, to our knowledge, any study of early supported discharge with present length of hospital stay. Thus it is not clear if home rehabilitation nowadays without risks, is cost effective, or with the same patient usefulness as earlier studies.

Trial registration NCT01622205

Stroke; Early supported discharge; Anxiety; Recovery of function; Care giver; Longitudinal study; Participation; RCT; Qualitative interviews; Next of kin