Researchers at the University of Hong Kong say that the elderly should not be barred from stroke rehabilitation programs because of their age. It is generally felt that the older a stroke victim, the less are the chances of recovery.
But the current study suggests that people over 80 years of age can recover as much as those of a younger age. To test this theory, the researchers studied 878 stroke survivors who received rehabilitation in Hong Kong from January 2000 to December 2003.
The participants were divided into three groups. 189 were below 65, another 432 were from 65 to below 80, and 257 were over 80 years of age. Patients scoring 90 points or more on the Functional Independence Measure (FIM) would be considered as having recovered well.
Researchers found that about 20 percent of survivors in all age groups recovered well. "The most important finding is that irrespective of the age group of the patients, all of them benefited from the rehabilitation program," said Raymond Cheung, neurology specialist at the Queen Mary Hospital, which is attached to the University of Hong Kong.
"So patients of advanced age should not be excluded from rehab programs. In fact, they should be encouraged to participate in order to achieve better results," he said. The details of the study can be found in the January issue of the medical journal Cerebrovascular Research.