Objective: To explore stroke survivors' experiences of undertaking exercise in the context of an exercise referral scheme for people with chronic stroke.
Design: A qualitative design, using semi-structured interviews within a constructivist framework to explore the experiences of individual participants. Verbatim transcripts were thematically analysed. Rigour mechanisms included respondent validation, peer checking, and reflexivity.
Setting: An exercise referral scheme, based at a leisure centre in South London.
Participants: Nine community-dwelling stroke survivors took part; 5 male and 4 female, mean age 51 years (range 37-61 years); time post stroke 1-4 years, with mixed ethnic backgrounds.
Findings: Participants described greater physical and psychological well-being following participation in the exercise referral scheme. Categories that emerged were: improved exercise engagement and confidence, more internalised perceptions of control and enhanced lifestyle, work and social roles. Categories linked to form a master theme, labelled: 'Exercise Referral Scheme as a catalyst for regaining independence.'
Conclusions: This study supports the value of exercise referral schemes in enabling people with stroke to engage in exercise. For participants in this study, the scheme seemed influential in the process of regaining independence.
Copyright © 2011 Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.