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Purpose: Stroke survivors receive considerable rehabilitation efforts as inpatients, but one-on-one therapy decreases after discharge. The gap between the amount of required therapy and the lack of its availability in this phase of care may be partly overcome by self-practice. However, patient's adherence to prescribed programs is often low. While single studies have examined factors affecting adherence in this specific case, they have not been reviewed and synthesised previously. Methods: A thematic synthesis of qualitative studies explored factors affecting stroke survivors’ adherence to prescribed, recovery-oriented self-practice. Five databases were systematically searched for references: Medline, Psycinfo, CINAHL, Embase, and ASSIA. Quality assessment was undertaken using the CASP tool. Results: From 1308 references, 68 potential papers were read in full, and 12 were included in the review. An overarching theme was identified as: “Tailoring and personalization rather than standardization.” It was informed by the following three analytical themes: “The meaning of ‘self’ in self-practice,” “Identifying self-practice as a team effort,” and “Self-practice that is grounded in one’s reality.” Conclusion: To have a positive effect on adherence to self-practice, clinicians are advised to spend time learning about each individual’s life circumstances, so they can tailor proposed exercise programs to patients’ personal situations, preferences, and needs.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION The topic of patient’s adherence to self-practice of prescribed exercise is a common concern, often voiced by frustrated rehabilitation health professionals. Bridging the gap between the patient’s needs for post-discharge intensive therapy and the inability of healthcare systems to provide it could be filled partly by self-practice. Adherence to self-practice has become even more essential since the COVID 19 pandemic and the decrease in face-to-face delivery of rehabilitation due to social distancing requirements. Adherence to exercise is a broad topic. Reasons for poor adherence differ between patient populations and the exercises they are prescribed. This study focuses on post-discharge stroke survivors’ adherence to recovery targeted exercise that could be described as repetitive and less physically demanding movements and functions. Reviewed studies were qualitative and usually included a relatively small number of participants within a specific context. Using thematic synthesis, we combined these small pieces of the puzzle into a larger picture, to produce recommendations that could be drawn on by clinicians to improve self-practice adherence.

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Journal article


Disability and Rehabilitation

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