Re-thinking stroke rehabilitation: the Corbin and Strauss chronic illness trajectory framework
The dramatic effects of a stroke can have far-reaching implications for patients and carers. Effective recovery involves a considerable array of coping strategies that facilitate and promote engagement in the social world. Their development is a long-term process that requires considerable effort, motivation and enterprise on the part of patients and their families. Traditional approaches to the provision of stroke rehabilitation services, however, appear to be underpinned by frameworks that are short-term in outlook. As a consequence, nursing interventions often focus on the progression of the patient through the care system, rather than on facilitating future recovery. Much of the work of stroke recovery is consequently done by patients and their families at home, with little provision of ongoing professional help and advice. This paper explores the application of the Corbin and Strauss Chronic Illness Trajectory Framework for stroke. In particular, the major concepts of the framework are applied to a vignette derived from a longitudinal study of patients’ experiences of recovery. The trajectory framework is shown to be a useful structure that has the potential to enhance the appropriateness of nursing interventions for stroke patients. However, the validity of the framework can only be established through its application and evaluation in clinical practice. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to a debate that encourages consideration of the framework's utility for nurses to enhance the stroke rehabilitation experience.