Purpose. In this paper we aim to develop the understanding of what constitutes a ‘good’ or ‘poor’ experience in relation to the transition from hospital to home following a stroke.
Method. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 20 people and 13 carers within one month of being discharged from hospital following a stroke. Interviews covered views of mobility recovery and support from therapy and services. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, coded and analysed in depth in order to explore the discharge process.
Results. Participants described models of recovery, which involved a sense of momentum and getting on with their life. Discharge was successful if: (i) This sense of momentum was maintained, (ii) they felt supported, and (iii) they felt informed about what was happening. Discharge was seen as difficult when: (a) Momentum was perceived to be lost, (b) people did not feel supported, or (c) they felt in the dark about the plans or their recovery.
Conclusions. The discharge experience could be improved by healthcare professionals understanding and exploring patients' individual models of recovery. This would allow professionals to: (a) Access patients concerns, (b) develop programmes addressing these, (c) correct misinterpretations, (d) keep people fully informed, and (e) share and validate the experience, to reduce their sense of isolation.