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Patients & Public > Research using SSNAP data > Plain English Summaries > Is stroke care worse at the weekend?

Lay summary: Is stroke care worse at the weekend? Is there a 'weekend effect' in stroke care?

A ‘weekend effect’ is where patients who are admitted to hospital on the weekend receive poorer quality of care and have worse outcomes than patients admitted on weekdays. In the last few years, the ‘weekend effect’ has become an object of discussion for healthcare professionals working in stroke care. This study aimed to see if there was a ‘weekend effect’ in stroke care using data from over 45,000 stroke patients (2010 to 2012).

The study found that patients who were admitted outside of daytime working hours:

  • tended to have more severe strokes.
  • had a higher level of care dependency (needing external help in their daily life) before their stroke.
  • were more likely to experience longer delays in receiving a brain scan and in being admitted to a stroke unit (hospital ward specialised for stroke patients).
  • were less likely to receive a blood clot-dissolving drug.

There was no consistent evidence of higher number of deaths in patients who were admitted out-of-hours.

About the paper:
Paper title: 'The effect of out of hours presentation with acute stroke on processes of care and outcomes: analysis of data from the Stroke Improvement National Audit Programme (SINAP)'
Year published: 2014
Authors: James TP Campbell, Benjamin Bray, Alex M Hoffman, Sara J Kavanagh, Anthony G Rudd, Pippa J Tyrell, Intercollegiate Stroke Working Party.

A summary of this paper was published in the article '20 years of researching stroke through audit'.
View the full paper here.
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