Background: Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability in the USA; however, we have an incomplete understanding of how stroke affects long-term quality of life.
Methods: We report here findings from focus groups with 9 long-term stroke survivors and 6 caregivers addressing patients' post-stroke quality of life.
Results: Key themes identified by patients were: social support, coping mechanisms, communication, physical functioning and independence. Role changes in patients were important to caregivers. Much of the discussion with patients and caregivers described specific ways in which the stroke altered social relationships.
Conclusion: These findings are consistent with prior research indicating the importance of social factors to quality of life following stroke. Our findings suggest that measures of stroke-related quality of life should include assessment of social function and social support.