Life after a stroke: coping with change

Rehabil Nurs. Jul-Aug 1998;23(4):198-203. doi: 10.1002/j.2048-7940.1998.tb01782.x.


Individuals who have had a stroke must cope with many changes in their lives. Initially, the focus is on the physical changes and functional abilities; however, coping with the emotional and cognitive changes also requires attention. Changes in mental status can affect a person's rehabilitation outcomes. This study describes the predominant themes related by stroke survivors that affected their recovery. Eleven right-hemisphere stroke patients (6 women and 5 men) were interviewed four times (at 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months) after their stroke. The descriptions of personal changes, feelings, and experiences were categorized and analyzed for recurrent themes. The major mental changes were in mood, judgment, memory, and personality. At 6 months, the predominant themes were depression, memory loss, nervousness, irritability, frustration, lack of energy, and decreased initiative. These mental changes are important for nurses to consider when planning rehabilitation goals.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Judgment
  • Life Change Events
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality
  • Recovery of Function
  • Stroke / nursing
  • Stroke / physiopathology*
  • Stroke / psychology*
  • Stroke Rehabilitation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires