Complementary therapies in rehabilitation: stroke patients’ narratives. Part 2

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Aims and objectives.To document the narratives of nursing staff and patients in a Thailand Rehabilitation Centre where complementary therapies are used and to discuss perceived progress of these stroke patients. Specific complementary therapies used at this Rehabilitation Centre include Thai massage and herbal therapies.Background.Whilst there has been a small amount of quantitative research on stroke patients and complementary therapies there has been no qualitative research on the experience of stroke patients and the use of complementary therapies.Design.Qualitative pilot study using narrative inquiry and discourse analysis framed by poststructural theory.Method.Six stroke patients were interviewed about their involvement in complementary therapy practice and treatments and their experiences of these therapies in rehabilitation.Results.This study represents a reflective mining of patients’ stories and captures the main theme of changes in stroke patients’ embodiment and a main discourse of attending to and enabling progress. Throughout the storylines there are many other discourses such as hope, desire, helplessness, despair, fear, motivation, gratefulness, gladness and fragility.Conclusion.Threaded throughout the stroke patients’ stories of their rehabilitation there is a layering of discourses involving tensions and a longing to overcome their disability. There are twists and detours in their stories that show the complexity of the illness experience. Progress is not straightforward with a quick recovery. Many contexts or variables influence progress such as spatiality, temporality and people.Relevance to clinical practice.What is offered here is the reality of the rehabilitation process for stroke patients. Through the use of narrative inquiry the contexts of people, spatiality (environment) and temporality (time) are an important part of rehabilitation process.

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