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Research Article  |   March 2004
Acceptance and Meanings of Wheelchair Use in Senior Stroke Survivors
Author Affiliations
  • Donna J. Barker, MSc, BSc(OT), is Professional Practice Leader, Occupational Therapy, St. John's Rehabilitation Hospital, 285 Cummer Avenue, North York, Ontario M2M 2G1, Canada; dbarker@stjohnsrehab.com
  • Denise Reid, PhD, MEd, BSc(OT), is Professor, University of Toronto, Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Cheryl Cott, PhD, DipGer, BPT, is Associate Professor, University of Toronto, Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Article Information
Neurologic Conditions / Stroke / Rehabilitation
Research Article   |   March 2004
Acceptance and Meanings of Wheelchair Use in Senior Stroke Survivors
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 2004, Vol. 58, 221-230. doi:10.5014/ajot.58.2.221
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 2004, Vol. 58, 221-230. doi:10.5014/ajot.58.2.221
Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study was to gain understanding of the lived experience of senior stroke survivors who used prescribed wheelchairs in their homes and communities. The study involved semistructured, in-depth interviews that were conducted with 10 participants, ages 70 to 80 years old, who had used a wheelchair for a mean of 5.6 years. A constant comparative inductive method of analysis was performed.

Three different categories of acceptance of wheelchair use were identified; reluctant acceptance, grateful acceptance, and internal acceptance. Increased mobility, varied social response, and loss of some valued roles were common to all three wheelchair acceptance categories. Aspects of level of burden, freedom, and spontaneity varied in degree among the three acceptance categories. As the wheelchair provided opportunity for increased continuity in the lives of these stroke survivors, it appeared to be accepted more fully and viewed more positively. Prestroke lifestyle and values need to be carefully considered in order to maximize acceptance of wheelchair use among senior stroke survivors.