Stroke is hitting about 2 Million people per year in Europe. For these persons the effect of stroke is that they lose certain physical and cognitive abilities at least for a certain time period. More than one third of these patients, i.e., more than 670,000 people, return to their home with some level of permanent disability leading to a significant reduction of quality of life which affects not only the patients themselves but also their relatives. Thus, the manifesto of the Stroke Alliance for Europe calls on “all European Governments to improve the availability of short and long-term rehabilitation to enable all stroke survivors to have access to life changing support.” Further, “telemedicine systems for management of stroke” are considered to become a key technology to cope with expected challenges in future stroke care.

There is a strong need to improve the ambulant care model, in particular, at the home settings, involving the patients into the care pathway, for achieving maximal outcome in terms of clinical treatment as well as quality of life. In addition to the dramatic effect of stroke for individuals, it has a strong impact on our society as well. The total cost of stroke in the EU was calculated to be over 38 billion in 2006. This figure included healthcare costs (about 49% of the total cost), productivity loss due to disability and death (23% of the total cost) and informal care costs (29% of the total cost).

The prevalence of ageing in the European societies will lead to an increased number of people suffering from stroke. For example, the number of stroke patients in Hessen, Germany; is predicted to increase from 20,846 in 2005 to more than 35,000 in 2050 which equals to an increase of nearly 70% within the next four decades. Experts predicted an increase of even 2.5 times leading to an enormous pressure on the healthcare systems in terms of cost. The effect on the healthcare cost might be even more significant, since the current trend suggests also the ratio of young and healthy persons to elderly persons to decrease, so that the informal care cost will be shrinking and thereby directly leading to increased direct healthcare cost. This will become a real burden for our economies.