Stroke Perceptions of Well Laypersons and Professional Caregivers

Authors

  • Kenneth Gilmet MS RN FNP,

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    • Kenneth Gilmet is a family nurse practitioner at the Florida Heart Group Cardiology Services Orlando, FL.

  • Mary E. Burman PhD RN FNP

    Corresponding author
      School of Nursing, University of Wyoming, PO Box 3065, Laramie, WY 82071-3065, or e-mail mburman@uwyo.edu.
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    • Mary E. Burman is an associate professor at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, WY.


School of Nursing, University of Wyoming, PO Box 3065, Laramie, WY 82071-3065, or e-mail mburman@uwyo.edu.

Abstract

Four of every five families in the United States will be affected by stroke at some point during the lifetimes of family members. Although its impact on these families has been explored, little is known about how people perceive stroke. Several studies have documented a variety of misconceptions about the condition. Therefore, we did a descriptive qualitative study to explore the perceptions of stroke among healthcare professionals and well laypersons. A convenience sample of 13 laypersons and 8 professional caregivers participated in focus groups of four to five persons. The major theme we identified was “enduring images” of stroke and its consequences. Participants described vivid negative images of stroke that were based on past experiences. Four subthemes also emerged: fear, shame, avoidance, and desire for control. Our findings support the need to further educate both professional and lay people about stroke risk factors, symptoms, treatment, and prognosis.

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