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Explanatory models of stroke in Ghana: perspectives of stroke survivors and their caregivers

Objective: This study examines explanatory models (EMs) of stroke and its complications among people living with stroke, and their caregivers, in two urban poor communities in Accra (Ga Mashie) and Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), Accra. Methods: Twenty-two stroke survivors and 29 caregivers were recruited from 2 urban poor communities in Accra and KBTH. Qualitative data were obtained using semi-structured interviews that lasted between 45 minutes and 2 hours. The interviews were audiotaped, transcribed and analysed thematically, informed by the concept of EMs of illness. Results: Participants referred to stroke as a sudden event and they expressed different emotional responses after the stroke onset. Stroke survivors and their caregivers attributed stroke with poor lifestyle practices, high blood pressure, unhealthy diet and dietary practices, supernatural causes, stress, family history, other chronic diseases, and delay in treatment of symptoms. While the stroke survivors associated stroke complications with physical disability and stigmatisation, the caregivers associated these with physical disability, behavioural and psychological changes, cognitive disability and death. These associations were mostly influenced by the biomedical model of stroke. Conclusion: The biomedical model of stroke is important for developing interventions that will be accepted by the stroke survivors and the caregivers. Nevertheless, sociocultural explanations of stroke need to be taken into consideration during delivery of medical information to the participants. This study proposes an integrated biopsychosociocultural approach for stroke intervention among the study participants.

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Type of Reference
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Taylor & Francis
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Ethnicity & Health
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