“I’ve got somebody there, someone cares”: what support is most valued following a stroke?

Sarah Northcott, Katerina Hilari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: There is often a need for increased support following a stroke. This study explored what types of support are provided by different network members and what support functions are most valued.

Methods: Adults with first stroke were recruited from a stroke unit and participated in in-depth interviews 8–15 months poststroke. Framework Analysis was used to build thematic and explanatory accounts of the data.

Results: Twenty-nine participants took part. Main themes to emerge were as follows: the spouse was the most important provider of support; children were a relatively stable source of support, although many participants expressed reservations about worrying a child; relatives and friends typically provided social companionship and emotional support rather than on-going practical support. The only universally valued support function was the sense that someone was concerned and cared. Other valued functions were as follows: social companionship including everyday social “chit chat”; practical support provided sensitively; and, for many, sharing worries and sensitive encouragement. The manner and context in which support was provided was important: support was easiest to receive when it communicated concern, and was part of a reciprocal, caring relationship.

Conclusions: As well as measuring supportive acts, researchers and clinicians should consider the manner and context of support.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2439-2448
Number of pages10
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number20
Early online date19 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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