Understanding Life After Stroke

University dissertation from Uppsala : Universitetsbiblioteket

Abstract: Stroke is an acute, neurological dysfunction of vascular origin with sudden occurrence and it influences physical, cognitive and psychological functions. Initial treatment aims at eliminating or reducing the brain damage. Soon, however, the influence of the stroke on the entire life of stroke survivors has to be considered.This thesis explores the meaning of life after stroke to 19 elderly stroke survivors during the first year post stroke. Survivors were interviewed twice and the interviews were analysed through qualitative methods.Study I was about four survivors who delayed hospital arrival far beyond time limits for trombolytic treatment. The survivors had a strong need for control of body, autonomy and integrity and they demanded to be encountered in consultations as a person by a person. To make them search for emergency evaluation in time might demand an emergency care treating them according to these needs.In Study II the voice of an aphasic survivor was heard. Because of the damaged language his rehabilitation unilaterally focussed on language training and his need for comprehensive support and planning for the future was not observed. Implementation of a qualitative research method for text analysis adapted to practical use in dialogues with aphasic persons might ensure these survivors an adequate rehabilitation.Study III showed how time models in narratives helped stroke survivors to overcome uncertainty and recreate narrative coherence in their lives. Professionals can support survivors through revealing and reinforcing the meaning of these models.Study IV found that the meaning of rehabilitation to stroke survivors was social reintegration. Many probably did not socially reintegrate because their own strategies and subjectively experienced disabilities were unacknowledged in their rehabilitation. Through integrating illness-as-lived perspectives with biomedical perspectives, subjective dysfunctions and rehabilitation strategies of survivors could be acknowledged in stroke rehabilitation.