Perceived Losses Following Stroke


  • Dr. Christina M. Mumma PhD RN CRRN

    Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • When this article was first published, Christina Mumma was a clinical nurse specialist in neurology and rehabilitation at the Providence Medical Center in Seattle, WA. She is currently an associate professor at the University of Alaska, School of Nursing and Health.

Mumma at 1704 Link Court, Anchorage, AK 99504


Adjustment to disability following a stroke may involve coming to terms with a variety of losses. The purpose of this exploratory, cross-sectional survey was to describe losses experienced following a stroke as perceived by patients and their spouses. The data were derived from interviews with 60 middle-aged and older couples in which one person had suffered a stroke. Content analysis of the responses to open-ended questions about perceived losses yielded three major categories of loss: 1. activities, 2. abilities and characteristics, and 3. independence. The loss most often mentioned by patients was mobility; by spouses, traveling. When responses were examined by sex, the loss mentioned most frequently by both male and female spouses identified traveling as what they missed most after the stroke. Examination of losses in relation to length of time since the stroke revealed independence as a prominently mentioned loss for most groups. Comparison by cerebral hemisphere damaged revealed that patients with right-brain damage missed their independence while patients with left-brain damage missed mobility. The findings of this study support two major aspects of rehabilitation nursing practice: facilitation of patient independence, and consideration of spouse or caregiver's need for support or respite care on a long-term basis.