Changes in quality of life over the first year after stroke: Findings from the sunnybrook stroke study

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the longitudinal patterns of recovery of quality of life over the first year after stroke to understand the factors that are influential in this process. Method: A sample of 116 stroke survivors with mild to moderate impairment was followed-up at 3 months and at 1 year after stroke onset. Changes in scores on a quality of life measure were assessed in association with changes in impairment and disability over this 9-month period. The use of rehabilitation services over the first year was also documented. Results: The quality of life of these survivors improved over the first year after stroke. Improvements in motor disability and depressive symptoms were found to be associated with improvements in quality of life. Additionally, survivors receiving rehabilitation therapy reported an improvement in quality of life that was independent of changes in disability and depressive symptoms. Conclusions: Opportunities to enhance the quality of life of stroke survivors exist throughout the first year of recovery. Improvements in functional ability and depression are important for long-term improvements in quality of life. Rehabilitation therapy is a potentially important resource.