Background: In 2013 the Israel Ministry of Health identified the care and treatment of acute cerebral ischemic stroke as failing to achieve expected standards. The Ministry decided to raise standards by defining and instituting, nationwide, a battery of linked care quality indicators to be applied across all relevant facilities and contexts. Five indicators were selected for five key junctures in the AIS care process.
Methods: This paper presents and analyses the effects of the implementation of these new care quality indicators on the post-discharge quality of life outcomes of Israeli stroke sufferers. The patient sample comprises patients from Israel’s Central region, where stroke care provision and access is relatively high, and from the peripheral North region, where provision and access are limited.
Results: Those who were not treated with thrombolytic treatment and/or cerebral blood vessel catheterization, those who suffered severer strokes, women, the older age groups, non-Jews and North region residents display significantly worse physical functioning outcomes and worse quality of life outcomes on all indicators.
Conclusions: Stroke care access and provision disparities translate into significantly higher rates of post-discharge disability, impaired physical and social functioning, and a lower quality of life.
The effectiveness of healthcare improvement by the deployment of care indicators is closely associated with the lifestyle, socio-demographic and socioeconomic status of different population groups. The effective implementation of quality care indicators also relies heavily on closing the access and provision gaps between the populations living in central and peripheral areas. Two obvious directions for action are to expand and improve the rehabilitation care network and to combat the age discrimination in hospital stroke treatment.
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