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Do implementation interventions improve evidence-based care in acute stroke settings? A Cochrane Review summary with commentary.

NeuroRehabilitation 2024 Februrary 29
BACKGROUND: Evidence on acute stroke management is continuously growing. Stroke units are often associated with better access to high-level evidence-based practices, but even there, recommendations can be inconsistently delivered to patients with stroke. Implementation interventions are strategies designed to improve the application of evidence-based care.

OBJECTIVE: To provide a commentary on the Cochrane Review by Lynch et al. on the effects of implementation interventions on adherence to evidence-based recommendations by health professionals working in acute stroke units.

METHODS: A systematic search was performed in CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, and other databases. The search was also performed in grey literature databases, trial registries, systematic reviews and primary studies, as well as in the reference list of identified studies.

RESULTS: The review included seven cluster-randomized trials (with 42,489 participants). Studies compared the implementation of strategies composed of different parts (multifaceted) to no intervention, or a multifaceted strategy vs another intervention. These strategies were aimed at changing and improving the delivery of care in the hospital. It included health professional participants, such as nurses, physicians and allied health professionals. The authors concluded that there was uncertainty whether implementation strategies compared with no intervention have any effect on patients receiving evidence-based care during their stroke unit admission. Implementation interventions compared to no intervention probably have little or no effect on the risk of patients dying or being disabled or dependent, and probably do not change patients' hospital length of stay.

CONCLUSION: Due to the very low certainty of evidence, there is uncertainty whether a multifaceted implementation intervention, compared to no intervention, can improve adherence to evidence-based recommendations in acute stroke settings.

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