Where & How Should Elderly Stroke Patients Be Treated? a Randomized Trial, Article Critique Example


Kaste, Markku, Heikki Palomaki, and Seppo Sarna. “Where and How Should Elderly Stroke Patients Be Treated? : A Randomized Trial.” Strokes. American Heart Association, 1995       Web. 14 Feb. 2012. <http://stroke.ahajournals.org/content/26/2/249.full>.


This article is focuses on the proper way to treat stroke victims, especially the older victims. They were focused on both the most financially affordable care, as well as optimizing the quality of care as well. Particularly the study was focused on whether or not elderly patients should be admitted to neurological or medical wards, as currently the elderly were treated in medical wards while younger patients were in neurological wards. This study was specifically prompted by a recommendation from the Finnish Board of Health that all patients be treated by neurology specialists.

Theory and Research Methods

The sampling criterion used was very simple, as they just studied every stroke patient admitted to a local hospital. The authors of the paper claim that the patients admitted to this hospital are largely random, meaning the sample can be trusted to represent the population of stroke victims as a whole. There is the caveat that more elderly patients are more often admitted to smaller hospitals, while the hospital in this study is a larger one. The population consisted of the two-hundred and thirty-two patients treated at the hospital for a stroke. According to the authors, their randomization process resulted in two groups roughly equal to each other in both stroke characteristics and lifestyles.

Main Ideas

The results ultimately showed the admission into the neurological ward to be favorable in the treatment of the more senior patients in the study. There was no difference in the success rates of the subjects admitted to either ward outside of a greater chance of cardiac arrests in those treated in the neurological ward. Not only was the frequency of strokes suffered in treatment unchanged between the two groups, but the distribution of severity and type was distributed equally the same in each. However, there were major differences in favor of the neurological ward. One difference that was seen to occur was in the sixty-five to seventy-five age groups, where these patients had shorter stays in the hospital if they were initially admitted to the neurological ward. Also in its favor is the fact that patients treated in this ward faced higher qualities of life a year later, as more were able to function on their own.


The authors of the study concluded that the programs undertaken by the neurological wards were more effective than their counterparts in the medical ward. They cited an increased emphasis on stroke patients in the neurological ward, which means more attention, is paid to the patient and their rehabilitation plan. In fact, they conclude that the makeup of doctor in the ward is not important as long as they can dedicate the extra attention levels.