Both groups achieved a high level of personal independence by 26 weeks (BI 19 v 20). Patients managed at home showed a greater return to pre-morbid activity levels on the FAI at 6 months (-3 v -9;p<0.005) which remained significant even at 1 year (-3 v -5; p<0.01). This effect was independent of age, gender, premorbid FAI and stroke severity. Both management strategies were associated with low levels of anxiety (2 v 2) and depression (2 v 2.5) even at 1 year. The quality of life scores were comparable between the two groups (EuroQol 75 v 80). Differences in management and complications between the stroke unit and general wards differ substantially, even when specialist support is provided. Such differences could be responsible for the more favourable outcome seen in patients on stroke units than those on general wards.