Participation in everyday occupations and life satisfaction in the stroke-caregiver dyad
Abstract: In order to develop knowledge that can be used within rehabilitation after stroke, the general aim was to explore participation in everyday occupations and the relation to life satisfaction in persons with stroke and within the caregiver dyad. Furthermore, the aim was to understand and describe the lived experience of persons enacting agency in everyday occupations during the first year after stroke. The aim of study I was to understand the lived experience of enacting agency (i.e. making things happen by ones’ actions in everyday life) and to describe the phenomenon of agency during the year after stroke. This was done with a phenomenological approach. Studies I and II had a prospective, longitudinal design and the aim of study II was to explore the extent of and the factors associated with restrictions in participation in everyday occupations i.e. occupational gaps, 12 months after stroke and to identify factors at 3 months that predicted occupational gaps 12 months after stroke. Studies III-IV used a cross-sectional design and study III described the combined life satisfaction of the stroke-caregiver dyad and investigated the association of the combined life satisfaction with the perceived impact of the stroke and the caregivers’ caregiver burden one year after stroke. The aim of study IV was to explore and describe persons’ with stroke and their caregivers’ restrictions in participation in everyday occupations three months after study inclusion and to depict this in relation to their life satisfaction, the dyads combined life satisfaction, caregiver burden, perceived impact of stroke and ADL ability. The findings in study I showed that persons after a stroke experienced the process of enacting agency as complex negotiations of varied and changing aspects in different situations. The four characteristics that described how the participants enacted agency concerned how they managed their perturbed bodies, took into account the past and envisioned the future, dealt with the world outside themselves, and negotiated through internal dialogues. Restrictions in participation i.e. occupational gaps, were perceived by 83% of persons with stroke and almost half of the caregivers, three months after study inclusion (study IV), and 45% of the persons with stroke, one year after the incident (study II). Three months after stroke, ADL ability, social participation and not being born in Sweden predicted occupational gaps at 12 months (study II). Occupational gaps were associated with life satisfaction one year after stroke (study II) but there was a low correlation between the number of occupational gaps for the persons with stroke and their life satisfaction, 3 months after study inclusion. This also regarded the caregivers (study IV). Almost two-thirds of the stroke-caregiver dyads gave congruent responses regarding their global life satisfaction. Dyads, where both persons had a low life satisfaction; 26% and 38%, respectively (studies III-IV), experienced caregiver burden, stroke impact, and occupational gaps to a greater extent, compared with those dyads where both persons were satisfied (study III-IV). Persons use complex negotiations to participate in everyday occupations after stroke and may need client-centered support. Their process of enacting agency challenges existing definitions of agency. Also, determining predictors of occupational gaps may facilitate identification of persons risking participation restrictions. A dyadic perspective regarding life satisfaction and life after stroke can provide information about potential vulnerable persons or dyads. This knowledge can be used clinically to prevent restrictions in participation in everyday occupations for both individuals and dyads affected by stroke.
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