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A qualitative pilot study exploring clients' and health-care professionals' experiences with aquatic therapy post-stroke in Ontario, Canada.

Authors
  • Marinho-Buzelli, Andresa R1
  • Vijayakumar, Abirami1
  • Linkewich, Elizabeth2, 3, 4
  • Gareau, Catherine5
  • Mawji, Hasnain5
  • Li, Zoe6
  • Hitzig, Sander L1, 2, 7
  • 1 St. John's Rehab Research Program, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Canada. , (Canada)
  • 2 Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. , (Canada)
  • 3 Hurvitz Brain Sciences Program, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Canada. , (Canada)
  • 4 Practice-Based Research, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Toronto, Canada. , (Canada)
  • 5 St. John's Rehab Research Program, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Toronto, Canada. , (Canada)
  • 6 Department of Biomedical and Molecular Science, Faculty of Arts and Science, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada. , (Canada)
  • 7 Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. , (Canada)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Topics in stroke rehabilitation
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2024
Volume
31
Issue
1
Pages
86–96
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/10749357.2023.2195590
PMID: 36999561
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Aquatic therapy is beneficial for people post-stroke, as it improves their physical function, well-being, and quality of life. There is a lack of description of users' experiences and perspectives toward aquatic therapy that could elucidate contextual factors for aquatic therapy implementation. To explore participants' experiences with aquatic therapy post-stroke as part of a participatory design project to develop an education tool-kit to address the users' needs for aquatic therapy post-stroke. A qualitative descriptive study was employed using a purposive sampling. Letters were sent to stroke and aquatic therapy organizations. Individual interviews were conducted either by phone or Zoom with nine participants in the chronic phase of stroke and 14 health-care professionals. All transcripts were coded and analyzed independently by two researchers. Inductive thematic analysis was used to identify the main themes. Health-care professionals practiced aquatic therapy in rehabilitation hospitals (N = 7), community centers (N = 8) and private clinics (N = 3). From the interviews, two organizing themes were identified: (1) Importance of aquatic therapy (e.g. experiences, benefits, and program approaches); and (2) Aquatic therapy education (e.g. knowledge gaps, sources of learning and communication). Health-care professionals and clients reported numerous benefits of aquatic therapy post-stroke including, but not limited to, improvements in mobility, balance, wellbeing, and socialization. Lack of formal and informal education and communication as participants' transition from rehab to community were viewed as barriers to aquatic therapy use post-stroke. Developing education material and communication strategies may improve the uptake of aquatic therapy post-stroke.

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