An ongoing clinical study is “Early supported discharge after stroke in Bergen” which is a comprehensive, interdisciplinary project in collaboration with HUS and Bergen municipal health care system. Different aspects of early supported discharge are examined and several sub-projects are integrated.
More than 400 patients with stroke are evaluated regularly with a broad spectrum of functional tests and questionnaires by neurologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and psychologists. The study aims to facilitate a seamless transfer of patients with stroke from acute care to community health services. As a consequence of this project, a community rehabilitation team has been established permanently. In connection with this project, an intervention study comparing the efficacy of two intensive treatment approaches for patients with hemiparesis of an arm is carried out. In other studies, the efficacy of treadmill walking and overground walking are compared for patients with brain damage (stroke and locked in-syndrome). A recently completed trial in collaboration with the Norwegian Multiple Sclerosis Competence Centre involves a study about the influence of climate and physiotherapy on patients with MS. Other research activities are dedicated to basic research, such as a study in collaboration with the Bergen fMRI group, where different aspects of cortical reorganization post stroke are examined with Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. The research activities contribute to specific and cost-effective rehabilitation strategies for diseases that will increase with an aging population, such as stroke. Early supported discharge (ESD) has earlier been shown to be a beneficial rehabilitation alternative for a large group of patients with stroke both with regard to recovery, collaboration between health personnel at different levels of health services, and reduced costs for the society. The “Early supported discharge after stroke in Bergen” study will further examine different rehabilitation models in the community.