Purpose: A stroke is a sudden event which may leave individuals and their families ill-prepared to deal with the resultant disability. Several contextual factors can influence the recovery process. These factors, internal and external, exist interactively in the lived experiences of the survivors. The limited availability of rehabilitation centres that are located in urban centres meant that recovery predominately occurred outside of the biomedical health and instead relied upon the resources available to individuals and their families. Methods: A qualitative approach with data from in-depth interviews and observations were used to identify contextual factors that shaped recovery following stroke in a community. Twenty-seven individuals with stroke were drawn from a health and demographic surveillance system in Malaysia. Results: Hope and optimism, coping strategies, motivation and support from family and friends, and the use of alternative and complementary medicine shaped the process of recovery within a context where infrastructure is extremely limited. Conclusion: The identification of factors that facilitate the recovery process provides a background in which health care providers can utilise to improve their understanding of the stroke experience. Such understanding could be instrumental in aiding health professionals to offer the most effective help to their clients.Implications for rehabilitation Identification of contextual factors provides a background for the understanding of the stroke experience. Incorporation of religion into rehabilitation could support and maintain hope in recovery for the survivors and aid acceptance. A collaboration of healthcare professionals with traditional medicine therapists may prove beneficial for the rehabilitation of stroke survivors in Malaysia.
- complementary and alternative medicine
- coping strategies
- family support
- hope and optimism