“I’ve still got a job to go back to”: the importance of early vocational rehabilitation after stroke

Nadia Moore, Sandra Reeder, Sophie O’Keefe, Serena Alves-Stein, Emma Schneider, Katelyn Moloney, Kate Radford, Natasha A. Lannin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: Returning to work is an important goal after stroke, not only as a recovery indicator but also for facilitating independent living and improved social identity. The aim of this study was to explore the lived experiences of vocational rehabilitation and the return to work pathway after stroke. Method: Qualitative data were collected through semi-structured interviews with purposively selected participants who had participated in a vocational rehabilitation trial. All participants were employed at the time of their stroke and were community-living. Interviews were undertaken by occupational therapists and were transcribed verbatim before data were thematically analysed using a framework approach. Results: Sixteen participants were interviewed, seven received specialist vocational rehabilitation and nine received usual clinical rehabilitation. Three major themes were identified which highlighted the importance of tailored vocational rehabilitation to address the challenges that arise when returning to the workplace. Stroke survivors perceived the most beneficial components of the specialist vocational rehabilitation intervention to be employer liaison support, fatigue management, and support for cognition and executive processing skills. Conclusions: Vocational rehabilitation was perceived to provide an opportunity to influence working after stroke, although areas of unmet need were highlighted. Findings provide direction for the development of future stroke-specific vocational rehabilitation programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2769–2776
Number of pages8
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Volume46
Issue number13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Keywords

  • occupational therapy
  • qualitative research
  • rehabilitation
  • return to work
  • Stroke
  • vocational rehabilitation

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