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Volume 46 Number 2, 2009
   Pages 223 — 232

Abstract - Racial/ethnic variation in recovery of motor function in stroke survivors: Role of informal caregivers

Melanie Sberna Hinojosa, PhD;1-2* Maude Rittman, RN, PhD;3 Ramon Hinojosa, PhD;1,4 William Rodriguez, MD5

1North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System, Rehabilitation Outcomes Research Center, Gainesville, FL; 2Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI; 3College of Nursing, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; 4Department of Social and Cultural Sciences, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI; 5Department of Veterans Affairs Caribbean Health System, San Juan, PR

Abstract — Research documents that African American and Latinos who have experienced an acute stroke recover more slowly than Caucasians in the United States. This descriptive study examines (1) the variation in Caucasian, Puerto Rican, and African American motor function after stroke; (2) the association between caregiver attributes and motor recovery after stroke; and (3) the degree to which caregiver attributes explain the variation in motor recovery between different racial/ethnic groups. One hundred and thirty-five veterans who had been hospitalized after an acute stroke, released home, and identified an informal caregiver were enrolled in the study. Veterans and caregivers were surveyed at five time points over the course of 24 months. Results indicate that Puerto Ricans show greater impairment and African Americans show less impairment at discharge from the hospital compared with Caucasians. Caregiver characteristics mediate the racial/ethnic differences in impairment at discharge and motor recovery across time.

Key words: African American, caregivers, Caucasian, longitudinal, Puerto Rican, race/ethnicity, recovery, rehabilitation, stroke, veterans.

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