METHODS: A qualitative approach with data from in-depth interviews and observations were used to identify contextual factors that shaped recovery following stroke in a community. Twenty-seven individuals with stroke were drawn from a health and demographic surveillance system in Malaysia.
RESULTS: Hope and optimism, coping strategies, motivation and support from family and friends, and the use of alternative and complementary medicine shaped the process of recovery within a context where infrastructure is extremely limited.
CONCLUSION: The identification of factors that facilitate the recovery process provides a background in which health care providers can utilise to improve their understanding of the stroke experience. Such understanding could be instrumental in aiding health professionals to offer the most effective help to their clients. Implications for rehabilitation Identification of contextual factors provides a background for the understanding of the stroke experience. Incorporation of religion into rehabilitation could support and maintain hope in recovery for the survivors and aid acceptance. A collaboration of healthcare professionals with traditional medicine therapists may prove beneficial for the rehabilitation of stroke survivors in Malaysia.
FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS: Stroke recovery involves adapting to new limitations and discovering the support necessary to live life. These changes are influenced by a range of environmental factors. Healthcare professionals need to support stroke patients in identifying challenges and work to find innovative ways to address them. Stroke survivors may benefit from the use of an assistive device beyond its clinical function to participate purposefully in activities of daily living. Implications for Rehabilitation Stroke is a cause of disability that limits everyday activities and reduces social participation. Assistive devices help achieve independence, social inclusion and shape stroke recovery. Individuals with disabilities in low and middle income countries often do not have access to assistive devices and resort to innovative solutions that are purpose built. Stroke recovery involves adapting to new limitations and discovering the support necessary to live life as best as possible.