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Patients expectations of recovery following a stroke : a qualitative study.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/11/2002
<mark>Journal</mark>Disability and Rehabilitation
Issue number16
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)841-850
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Purpose: Patients and carers frequently express disappointment with the extent of recovery achieved at the point of discharge from physiotherapy. Research has suggested that high expectations of recovery may be encouraged by physiotherapists. This study examined the information exchanged between physiotherapists and patients in relation to recovery following stroke in order to explore this issue. Methods: The study comprised in-depth longitudinal case studies of 16 patients with a first incident stroke. Qualitative interviews were conducted with patients and their physiotherapists to explore their understandings and expectations of recovery and of physiotherapy at three time points. Patients were assessed for deficits of movement, function and mood at the same three stages and observations of out-patient sessions were also conducted. Qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis. The assessment data were analysed using descriptive and comparative statistics. Results: Data indicated deficits of movement improved significantly between the first and third assessments. The qualitative data showed that physiotherapists did not encourage over-optimistic expectations of recovery through the verbal information they provided to patients. Nevertheless patients did maintain high expectations of recovery throughout the three-month post-stroke period. Conclusion: Improved communication strategies, informed by an evidence base of recovery, should be used to encourage realistic expectations of physiotherapy without destroying the process of active participation and skill acquisition.