Purpose: To explore how stroke survivors’ expectations and understanding of Early Supported Discharge (ESD) helped them make sense of their experiences, and shaped their engagement with the service. Methods: Data were collected as part of a study of large-scale implementation of stroke ESD: the WISE realist mixed-methods study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five purposefully selected stroke survivors from six sites in England implementing stroke ESD (n = 30). Participants were aged 32–88 years (20 males). Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and transcripts were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis. Results: Three overarching themes were identified: (1) ESD as a post-stroke recovery tool, (2) desire to recover quickly, (3) psychosocial impact and support. Stroke survivors were uncertain about what to expect when they first entered the service, however, their experience of ESD exceeded their expectations and increased their engagement with the service. Stroke survivors especially valued the goal-oriented approach the team adopted. Rehabilitation at home was perceived as positive and practical, encouraging independence within real-life contexts. Psycho-social support played an important role in the stroke survivors’ rehabilitation. Conclusions: Ensuring stroke survivors are fully informed about ESD and what to expect, optimises engagement with the services, improves experience and could enhance outcomes.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION Informing stroke survivors about what to expect from ESD services could optimise engagement and improve their experience. The provision of personalised and target focussed therapy at home improves stroke survivors’ experience and could potentially accelerate recovery. Preparing stroke survivors early for discharge from ESD can reduce anxiety and enhance engagement with the service.
Cameron, T. M., Koller, K., Byrne, A., Chouliara, N., Robinson, T., Langhorne, P., …Fisher, R. J. (2022). A qualitative study exploring how stroke survivors’ expectations and understanding of stroke Early Supported Discharge shaped their experience and engagement with the service. Disability and Rehabilitation, 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2022.2102251