Purpose. In this article, we aim to develop the understanding of what helps or hinders resumption of valued activities up to 12-months post-stroke.
Method. As part of a longitudinal study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 19 people with stroke and eight informal carers 12-months post-stroke. Interviews covered ongoing effects of stroke, experience of trying to resume activities highlighted as important pre-stroke and factors that influenced progress. Interviews were transcribed, coded and analysed in depth to explore this aspect of the experience of living with stroke.
Results. Valued activities discussed related to employment; domestic and social roles including driving; hobbies, sports and socialising. Outcomes for individuals were influenced by: aspects of physical or cognitive disability; environmental factors; the adaptability of the individual; support from others and professional help. Inability to resume activities impacted on people's sense of self and quality of life, but some tolerated change and presented themselves as adaptable.
Conclusions. This study indicates a long-term role for rehabilitation services such as: identifying the significance of different types of activities; providing access to support and treatment for debilitating symptoms such as fatigue and dizziness; addressing patients' emotional and behavioural responses to their condition; working with patients' wider social networks and where appropriate, supporting adaptation to a changed way of life.