Aims: To examine issues of continuity and transition facing clients as they return to life in the community following stroke and the role of rehabilitation in this process.
Key findings and implications: The sudden onset of disability following a stroke represents a major disruption to the continuity of a person's life experience. Rehabilitation has an important role in the transition from the non-disabled to the disabled state however current rehabilitation services and outcomes post-stroke focus on functional recovery rather than on a return to meaningful roles and activities and pay little attention to the transition from the non-disabled to the disabled self. Although some current rehabilitation models address the importance of involvement in a life situation, they do not adequately address issues of the role of the environment, the nature of community, the importance of meaning and choice when thinking about life situations, and change in abilities across the life course.
Conclusions: Models of rehabilitation service delivery need to move to a chronic disease management model that incorporates outcomes that are meaningful to clients, and not the assumed needs or outcomes as defined by rehabilitation professionals.