As we report in a July news article, a new study showed that a nursing care plan for stroke, implemented in the first 72 hours after admission, reduced deaths and disability compared with standard stroke care. The protocol—which was implemented on 19 acute stroke care units in New South Wales, Australia—treated fever, hyperglycemia, and dysphagia using the following interventions:
- Fever: Temperature monitoring every four hours; administration of paracetamol to lower temperature when needed
- Hyperglycemia management: Blood glucose monitoring and saline or insulin infusion if indicated
- Dysphagia detection: Nurses were trained by speech pathologists and assessed to test competency in screening for swallowing problems.
The study included 1,076 patients and confirmed the protocol’s positive outcomes four years later. (The same research group had conducted an earlier study showing the benefits after 90 days.) The authors hypothesized that rigorous implementation of the protocol in an organized stroke services setting helped preserve key tissue.
According to the study’s lead investigator, Sandy Middleton:
“This was one of the few randomized controlled trials to demonstrate that evidence-based nursing care can have an impact on the hard end points of death and dependency.”
See more news stories from our July issue, which are free to access: