Experiences of stroke survivors and measurement of post stroke participation and activity across seasons-A mixed methods approach

PLoS One. 2021 Oct 29;16(10):e0259307. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0259307. eCollection 2021.


Participation and activity post stroke can be limited due to adverse weather conditions. This study aimed to: Quantify and compare summer and winter participation and activity, and explore how community dwelling people with stroke describe their feelings about their level of participation and activity by season. This embedded mixed-methods observational study took place in a city with weather extremes. Community dwelling individuals at least one year post-stroke, able to walk ≥50 metres +/- a walking aide were included. Evaluations and interviews occurred at participants' homes in two seasons: Reintegration to Normal living Index (RNL), Activities-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) and descriptive outcomes. Participants wore activity monitors for one week each season. Analysis included descriptive statistics, non-parametric tests and an inductive approach to content analysis. Thirteen individuals participated in quantitative evaluation with eight interviewed. Mean age 61.5 years, 62% female and mean 6.2 years post-stroke. No differences between winter-summer values of RNL, ABC, or activity monitor outcomes. However, participants felt they could do more and were more independent in summer. The winter conditions such as ice, snow, cold and wind restricted participation and limited activities. Nonetheless, many participants were active and participated despite the winter challenges by finding other ways to be active, and relying on social supports and personal motivation. The qualitative findings explained unexpected quantitative results. Participants described many challenges with winter weather, but also ways they had discovered to participate and be active despite these challenges. Changes to future studies into seasonal differences are suggested.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Community Participation / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Postural Balance
  • Seasons*
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Stroke Rehabilitation / psychology
  • Stroke Rehabilitation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Walking / statistics & numerical data*

Grants and funding

RB, LL, SW received funding for this project from the University of Manitoba, College Of Rehabilitation Sciences Catalyst Research Grant. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.