Different folks, different strokes : becoming and being a stroke family during the first six months post-stroke
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Citation:Fischer, R. (2013) Different folks, different strokes : becoming and being a stroke family during the first six months post-stroke. Unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Osteopathy.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/2505
Aim: To explore the lived-experience of becoming and being a stroke family during the first six months post-stroke event. Background: The consequences of a stroke are far reaching and affect the whole family. Research has been limited with its exploration into the effects of stroke on family members beyond the primary caregiver. It is important to understand the wider family’s experience of stroke because the whole family is involved in caring for the stroke survivor, either through supporting the primary caregiver, or sharing in the caregiving tasks. This study explores the lived-experience of two different families during the first six months post-stroke. Design: Exploratory qualitative study using hermeneutic phenomenology. Methods: Purposive sampling recruited two different families each with two participants. Interviews were conducted at three time intervals: six weeks post-stroke, three months post-stroke and six months post-stroke. Data were collected between October 2011 and April 2012. Findings: The lived-experience of both families varied in the effects from the stroke event and challenges that each family faced. An over-arching theme of ‘Different Folks: Different Strokes’ was identified with three sub-themes: 1) Losing a life once lived. 2) Navigating an unfamiliar path. 3) Creating a sense of normal. Conclusions: The data revealed that the journey to becoming and being a stroke family is complicated and brought different losses and challenges to the two families. One family felt supported into post-stroke life by positive interactions with healthcare professionals and family strength; whereas the other family felt unsupported by healthcare professionals and experienced family strain. Both families then tried to create a sense of normal in their lives once again with varying degrees of success.