In 1999, the Stroke Association set up a project to promote home-based occupational therapy for patients who had had a stroke and been discharged home from hospital. As part of the service evaluation, focus groups for service users and carers were set up in two of the sites to consult users about the changes in their quality of life during the period of the home therapy. A total of 11 service users and 9 carers attended the groups, representing 30% of the service users and 27% of the carers involved in the project. The group discussion was taped and transcribed and then analysed using a framework approach.
The group members described their personal experiences of recovery from and limitations after the stroke and reported improvements in life issues during the period of their home therapy. The content and organisation of the service and the relationships with project staff were felt to influence the effectiveness of the occupational therapy. Other issues that affected the perceived outcome for the service users included individual choice, age, stroke consequences, other rehabilitation and community services and social limitations. This consultation process allowed the service users to describe the strengths and weaknesses of the service and provided valuable feedback that could be used to design the content and application of future home therapy services.