Purton, Judith (2017) Stroke survivors’ experiences of upper limb dysfunction: a longitudinal exploratory study. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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The experiences of stroke survivors have been researched quite extensively, in particular the effect that stroke can have on a person’s life and sense of self, but how much upper limb dysfunction contributes to these experiences is not fully known. This study explores the impact that upper limb dysfunction, specifically, could have on people’s lives after stroke, and their hopes and expectations for recovery of the upper limb.

Method: a longitudinal phenomenological study with a series of four semi-structured interviews at two-, six-, twelve-, and eighteen months post stroke with 13 participants recruited from a stroke rehabilitation unit. Data were analysed using thematic analysis and a modified form of framework analysis.

Results: Three main themes were identified in the data: The Altered Life; The Disrupted Self; The Experience of Recovery. Findings indicated that upper limb dysfunction after stroke, and the loss of two-handedness, can adversely affect the lives of stroke survivors, and this, in turn, can affect a person’s self-esteem, self-image and identity. Stroke survivors initially viewed recovery of the lower limb as more important than the upper limb, but on returning home they recognised that the upper limb recovery was crucial in managing self-care and returning to meaningful activities and life roles. Therapy services, after hospital discharge, were short term and focused on mobility, not the upper limb, and stroke survivors were frustrated with the lack of information and advice. Participants wanted to be active partners with therapists, to self-manage recovery in their upper limb.

Conclusion: Therapists should be more aware of the impact that upper limb dysfunction can have on stroke survivors’ lives and sense of self. Therapy, information and advice for the upper limb should be considered vital in rehabilitation, and models of services that capitalise on stroke survivors’ desire to self-manage their recovery should be explored.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Primary Care Health Sciences
Contributors: Hunter, SM (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2017 09:26
Last Modified: 29 Jul 2022 11:53
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/2721

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