Objective: The aim of this study was to increase the understanding of stroke survivors' thoughts and experiences from returning to work after stroke.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews were carried out with twelve persons, based on a thematic interview guide. A qualitative content analysis was performed.
Results: The main theme; Striving for optimal function at work creates mixed feelings of appreciation and frustration, contained three categories: 1) Multiple arrangements and strategies are necessary for returning to work, 2) Work as an activity holds multiple subjective meanings that are important for the motivation to return to work, and 3) The return-to-work process generates many and mixed feelings.
Conclusions: The complexity of the process involving many different actors constitutes great challenges for the affected person in addition to general and medical problems. The stroke survivor should be encouraged to be an active participant during the return-to-work process. Our findings can be used for the development of a programme, including a personal mentor, to support the person striving for returning to work. For detailed planning of such a programme further research is needed.