Background: If survived, stroke often results in permanent mobility limitations. From the patient’s perspective, one of the most important measures is the life-space mobility, defined by the places a patient can or cannot go. The overall aim of this study is to evaluate actual and desired life-space, and what factors contribute or inhibit reaching the patient’s desired life-space mobility in the rehabilitation process.
Objectives: The study has three objectives: (1) to characterize the actual and desired life-space – of patients who went through the rehabilitation process as well as its association with quality of life, (2) to identify barriers and motivators during rehabilitation focusing on regaining the desired life-space mobility, and (3) to derive the needs, barriers and facilitators for optimal recovery, as well as the opportunities and threats for individualized rehabilitation.
Methods: The first objective will be targeted by a cross-sectional study in which we will measure actual and desired life-space mobility as well as quality of life in 67 patients who are one to three years after stroke. We will use the validated University of Alabama at Birmingham Study of Aging Life-Space Assessment (LSA) tool to assess life-space, as well as a novel digital map-based assessment tool. Quality of life will be assessed with the validated short version of the Stroke-Specific Quality of Life scale. We will compare patient characteristics between groups of (1) patients who reach their desired life-space mobility, (2) patients with a reduced life-space, and (3) patients with a clearly restricted life-space mobility. Objective two and three will be targeted using focus group discussions with patients and clinicians (physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and physicians). We will obtain the patient’s and clinician’s perspective on recovery trajectories, facilitators and barriers in this process as well as opportunities and threats for the implementation of individualized treatment.
Relevance: The patient’s perspective plays the key role in this project. The findings of this project will enable us to develop rehabilitation guidelines that meet the expectations and constraints of patients and clinicians working with this population. This study can make a big difference regarding the life-space mobility and quality of life of stoke survivors.