The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the occupational needs of caregivers of stroke survivors and to identify potential implications for occupational therapy’s role with this population. Methods: Focus groups and a semi-structured interview were used to gather an in-depth perspective on caregivers’ needs and level of participation in valued activities. Interactions were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data analysis included open coding, formulation of categorical patterns, and thematic analysis. Rigor was enhanced through peer review, multiple coders, member checking, and triangulation. Results: Four primary themes emerged: (1) the essential need for additional services and support; (2) the amount of time spent on addressing spouses’ needs resulted in occupational loss; (3) finding new ways to participate in daily life activities; and, (4) an association between the survivor’s level of impairment and the caregiver’s quality of life. Conclusion: Demands of caregiving can lead to changes in roles, responsibilities, and routines. OT practitioners are uniquely qualified to reinstate valued occupations into daily life, formulate balanced routines, and provide client specific supports and resources. OT services could provide strategies to enhance caregivers’ ability to partake in meaningful occupations and resume a balanced lifestyle. More research is needed to determine the occupational needs of caregivers and the effectiveness of caregiver interventions.
The researchers in this study wish to acknowledge and thank Tara Shilts and Marylee Nunley for their support and assistance.
Knecht-Sabres LJ, Kammer K, Kilian MK, Veverka K. Caregivers of Stroke Survivors: Exploring the Role of Spousal Caregivers through an Occupational Therapy Lens. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2016 Jul 02;14(3), Article 4.