Design: A randomized controlled trial comparing early supported discharge with ordinary stroke unit service. Patients: A total of 62 eligible patients after stroke.
Methods: The outcome measures were Berg Balance Scale and walking speed at 1, 6, 26 and 52 weeks after stroke.
Results: We found no significant differences between the 2 groups during follow-up. There was a significant improvement on Berg Balance Scale (p=0.013) and walking speed (p=0.022) in the early supported discharge group, but not in the ordinary service group, from 1 to 6 weeks' follow-up. All patients with initial severe leg paresis suffered from poor balance one year after the stroke. The odds ratio for poor balance was 42.1 (95% confidence interval; 3.5–513.9) among patients with no initial walking ability.
Conclusion: These results do not conclusively indicate that early supported discharge has an effect on balance. A strong association was found between initial severe leg paresis, initial inability to walk and poor balance after one year.