There is growing recognition of the complexity of stroke recovery 1 and there are a multitude of factors that potentially could affect stroke recovery. Identifying factors that are linked to how a patient relates to their perception of their own health may enable patients to play an active role in their rehabilitation. Details regarding the patients¿ perception of their health status post stroke is lacking and with no research studies conducted in the last decade.
1. To explore a patients¿ perception of their health status post stroke
2. To identify stroke patients recovery goals
A qualitative study with semi structured interviews were carried out with 5 participants (mean age 77 years) with a first stroke incident. Time following stroke onset ranged between 5 days and 1 week. Qualitative data was analysed using thematic analysis.
All patients identified their goals for rehabilitation, with independence being the recurring personal goal. Two main themes emerged - Normalisation and Self Assessment. Participants reported wanting to quickly to return to doing normal things - gardening, house jobs etc. Participants perceived that the biggest test would be observing themselves at home.
Understanding the patients description of the experience can help individualise patient care to meet the patients physical and psychosocial needs. Health care professionals appear to evaluate recovery using benchmarks relating to functioning, predominantly from a physical perspective 2. However, the importance of including the patients perspective at an early stage post stroke may facilitate a shared decision making approach to care, customised to the patients goals.
Acknowledgements: Noel Hickey Research Bursary, Irish heart Foundation.