The longitudinal experience of the transition to home following a mild stroke-a case study of a spousal dyad
Hodson, T., Gustaffson, L., Cornwell, P.
Background: Recently it has been identified that the implications of mild stroke are greater than once thought, however, knowledge of the impact on the spousal dyad remains minimal. To date, research in this area has been completed with respect to a relatively short-term timeframe. With the knowledge that difficulties for people with mild stroke can be ongoing, further longitudinal exploration of the spousal dyad experience is required.
Aim: To explore the question: What is the essence of transitioning from acute hospital care to the community following a mild stroke, in the context of a spousal dyad?
Methods: Case study with an interpretative phenomenological approach to analysis. Two participants were included, a male participant with mild stroke (age 64), and his wife. Qualitative interviews were completed separately at 1-. 3-, 6-, and 9- months.
Results: Two themes were identified: (1) “The Unexpected, Undesired and Short-lived”, and (2) “The New Normal”. Findings from the first theme highlight the confusion, adjustment and adaptation that make up the essence of the first month at home. The second theme explores the new sense of normal that is found during the following eight months, where adaptation enables people to re-engage with their lives in the presence of changes.
Conclusion: The study identified that people with mild stroke and their spouses can experience changes to their lives, even in the best of circumstances. It also foregrounded the impact of contextual factors on the transitional experience and the need for improved information provision for this population.