Individualised home-based rehabilitation after stroke in eastern Finland – the client’s perspective

Reintegration into society is one of the primary objectives of post-stroke rehabilitation. The experiences of clients returning home after a stroke have been studied before. There is, however, little knowledge about activities carried out during home-based rehabilitation interventions and about the involvement of clients in the process. This study focused on clients’ experiences of a 3-month individualised, home-based rehabilitation programme supervised by a multidisciplinary team. The data were collected in 2009-2010, and it was based on interviews with 14 clients (48-83 years of age) conducted approximately 7 months after stroke. In the thematic analysis, five main topics describing the goals and functions of the home-based rehabilitation were identified as follows: (i) learning strategies for solving problems in daily activities at home and in the community; (ii) receiving exercise coaching (aiii) exploring community services and facilities; (iv) having a dialogue with professionals; and (v) taking part in activities aimed at returning to work. Implementing rehabilitation activities in the home environment seemed to enhance the participants’ active involvement and their ability to evaluate themselves and to set goals for their recovery. Work was an important goal for clients of working age, but work-related tasks were not adequately integrated with home-based rehabilitation. A challenge for local communities is to provide health promotion and recreation services that are also appropriate for individuals with limited functioning.