Assessing the impact of upper limb disability following stroke: a qualitative enquiry using internet-based personal accounts of stroke survivors
Disability and Rehabilitation
Reason for embargo
Purpose Upper limb disability following stroke may have multiple effects on the individual. Existing assessment instruments tend to focus on impairment and function and may miss other changes that are personally important. This study aimed to identify personally-significant impacts of upper limb disability following stroke. Methods Accounts by stroke survivors, in the form of web-based diaries (blogs) and stories, were sought using a blog search engine and in stroke-related web-sites. Thematic analysis using the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF) was used to identify personal impacts of upper limb disability following stroke. Results Ninety-nine sources from at least four countries were analysed. Many impacts were classifiable using the ICF, but a number of additional themes emerged, including emotional, cognitive and behavioural changes. Blogs and other web-based accounts were easily-accessible and rich sources of data, although using them raised several methodological issues, including potential sample bias. Conclusions A range of impacts was identified, some of which (such as use of information technology and alienation from the upper limb) are not addressed in current assessment instruments. They should be considered in post-stroke assessments. Blogs may help in the development of more comprehensive assessments.
National Institute for Health Research
© 2015 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis. Definitive publisher version available at : http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/09638288.2015.1068383