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The experience of partners of young stroke survivors

Purpose. Stroke is a health crisis that can prompt a re-organisation of lives and impact on family caregivers. This study extends existing findings by investigating the experiences of partners of young stroke survivors (under 60 years old) two to seven years post-stroke. Method. Semi-structured interviews with seven partners were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results. Two super-ordinate themes emerged, 'Adjustment' and 'Coping'. The first consists of two subordinate themes; 'Changed lives' describes the way in which the impact of the stroke was played out in many areas of the partners lives, whereas 'Enduring effects on the self' highlights the psychological consequences of these changes. 'Coping' refers to the ways in which partners adapt to life post-stroke. Conclusions. The study extends knowledge by demonstrating the enduring effects of caring on domestic tasks, relationship with survivor, family roles, employment and social life. Trauma from the stroke event and its immediate aftermath persisted over years. Caring impacted on the partners' sense of self and identity, and positive as well as negative effects were noted. Coping was primarily problem-focussed and previous experiences, social comparison and social support were important. Implications for community support services are discussed.

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Disability and Rehabilitation

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Web of science - exported 12/7/2016
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