Veterans Affairs/Department of Defense Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Adult Stroke Rehabilitation Care: Executive summary

Barbara Bates, John Y. Choi, Pamela W. Duncan, Jonathan J. Glasberg, Glenn D. Graham, Richard C. Katz, Kerri Lamberty, Dean Reker, Richard Zorowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Background - A panel of experts developed stroke rehabilitation guidelines for the Veterans Health Administration and Department of Defense Medical Systems. Methods - Starting from previously established guidelines, the panel evaluated published literature through 2002, using criteria developed by the US Preventive Services Task Force. Recommendations were based on evidence from randomized clinical trials, uncontrolled studies, or consensus expert opinion if definitive data were lacking. Results - Recommendations with Level I evidence include the delivery of poststroke care in a multidisciplinary rehabilitation setting or stroke unit, early patient assessment via the NIH Stroke Scale, early initiation of rehabilitation therapies, swallow screening testing for dysphagia, an active secondary stroke prevention program, and proactive prevention of venous thrombi. Standardized assessment tools should be used to develop a comprehensive treatment plan appropriate to each patient's deficits and needs. Medical therapy for depression or emotional lability is strongly recommended. A speech and language pathologist should evaluate communication and related cognitive disorders and provide treatment when indicated. The patient, caregiver, and family are essential members of the rehabilitation team and should be involved in all phases of the rehabilitation process. These recommendations are available in their entirety at http://stroke.ahajournals. org/cgi/content/full/36/9/e100. Evidence tables for each of the recommendations are also in the full document. Conclusions - These recommendations should be equally applicable to stroke patients receiving rehabilitation in all medical system settings and are not based on clinical problems or resources unique to the Federal Medical System.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2049-2056
Number of pages8
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2005


  • AHA/ASA-Endorsed Practice Guidelines
  • Quality of life
  • Rehabilitation
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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