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African Journal of Disability (Online)

On-line version ISSN 2226-7220
Print version ISSN 2223-9170


GAWULAYO, Sibulelo; ERASMUS, Charlene J.  and  RHODA, Anthea J.. Family functioning and stroke: Family members' perspectives. Afr. j. disabil. (Online) [online]. 2021, vol.10, pp.1-11. ISSN 2226-7220.

BACKGROUND: Stroke survivors often experience permanent or temporal physical and psychological stroke impairments. As a result, stroke survivors are often discharged to recover in their home environments and are cared for mostly by family members. Additionally, caregiving roles are often assumed without any formal training or preparation whatsoever. This can transform the family's functional patterns due to adjustments that are made to accommodate the caregiving needs. OBJECTIVES: To explore the experiences and influence of stroke on families and on family functioning. METHOD: Explorative descriptive qualitative research design through the use of in-depth interviews were employed as the means of data collection. The sample size was eight (8) family members and was guided by the saturation point. Data was thematically analysed RESULTS: Four themes emerged from the analysis: 1) reduced interactions with family members due to communication barriers, 2) the influence of stroke on family relationships, 3) emotional engagement in caring for a family member with a stroke and 4) financial implications of stroke on family functioning. This study found that stroke can influence the family functioning negatively as family members may be forced to change their functional patterns. However, some family members reported positive experiences, they developed a supportive structure to accommodate the new life of the stroke survivor. CONCLUSION: Using the McMaster's model of family functioning, this study found that stroke is a threat to the six dimensions of family functioning: 1) problem-solving, 2) communication, 3) roles, 4) affective responsiveness, 5) affective involvement, and 6) behaviour control..

Keywords : stroke; stroke survivor; stroke impairments; activities of daily living (ADL); family members; family functioning and dimensions.

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