Is it feasible to measure lifespace with smartphone geolocation data after mild stroke?
Gustafsson, L., Liddle, J., Bennett, P., Goldman, M., Ireland, D
Background: Lifespace is a measure of the area a person moves around in their community. It has traditionally been collected using diaries or paper-based questionnaires and been linked with health and well-being in other neurological populations. There have been no known studies completed with the mild stroke population. The research team developed and trialled a Lifespace tracker app to passively measure lifespace from smartphone geolocation data.
Aim: To determine feasibility of using the app and describe lifespace at 1 and 6-months after a mild stroke.
Method: Participants in a randomised controlled trial were approached to consider participation in this study. The exploratory study required the participant to carry a study smartphone for a 7-day period at either 1 or 6-months after stroke. Geolocation data were used to calculate amount of time spent within the home, number of trips outside of home, distance travelled, and overall lifespace area.
Results: Twenty-one potential participants were approached and eleven agreed to participate. The feasibility of using an app to map lifespace was established with the findings supporting the individual nature of the lifespace data and a trend for participants to have more trips and travel further at the 1-month data collection point.
Discussion: This app may provide a method to passively measure community mobility and engagement after stroke as an outcome measure in intervention trials or in clinical practice. Further studies are required to explore the longitudinal changes and subjective meaning of lifespace for people with mild stroke.