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Continuity and Discontinuity: The Quality of Life Following Stroke


University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, 615 McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37403-2598, e-mail Janet-Secrest®


The purpose of this existential-phenomenological study was to investigate the experience of life after stroke rehabilitation, to provide a holistic view for nurses and others in providing care. Analysis involved apart-to-whole dialectic; selected transcripts, including the bracketing interview, were analyzed in an interpretive research group. There were 14 participants, with a 2-year median length of time since stroke; participants exhibited various disabilities. The world of the stroke survivor is grounded in a life of loss and effort from which emerged interrelated themes: independence/dependence, in control/out of control, and connection/disconnection with others. A fundamental aspect of these themes is a sense of continuity that coexists with discontinuity in the experience of self. The findings have implications for how nurses interact with stroke survivors, for goal-setting, and for specific strategies that focus on meanings for clients.