Stroke survivors’ experiences of somatosensory impairment after stroke: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

Louise Connell, Naoimh McMahon, Nicola Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Background - Somatosensory ability is commonly impaired after stroke. Despite the growing recognition for the need to understand service users' experiences and perspectives in health services provision, the experiences of stroke survivors' living with somatosensory impairment have yet to be reported. Objective - To gain an insight into how stroke survivors experience somatosensory impairment after stroke. Design A qualitative study design was used with data analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Methods Semi-structured in-depth interviews were carried out with purposively selected community dwelling stroke survivors who had somatosensory impairment. Results - Five stroke survivors were interviewed in this study. Data analysis resulted in the emergence of three superordinate themes (i) making sense of somatosensory impairment, (ii) interplay of somatosensory impairment and motor control for executing tasks and (iii) perseverance versus learned non-use. The stroke survivors in this study were aware that their somatosensory ability was affected as a result of their stroke, but had difficulty in articulating their experiences of sensation and the impact of the impairment on functional ability. Most often somatosensory impairment was described in terms of difficulties with executing specific tasks, particularly by the upper limb. Conclusion - It is important to be aware that somatosensory impairment is of concern to stroke survivors. Further research is needed to develop evidence-based and practice-appropriate clinical assessment tools and treatment strategies for somatosensory rehabilitation after stroke.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-155
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


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