The Experience of Empowerment in Hospitalised Patients Following a Stroke

Hui-Man Huang, W.George Kernohan, Brendan McCormack

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Background. Hospitalised patients often experienced a disruption of the sense of self and felt powerless. The experience of having a stroke can lead to a re-evaluation of the sense of self as a patient learns to live with powerlessness. Little qualitative-based studies explore stroke patients' empowerment during their recovery processes.

Aim. To understand patients' attributes of power after stroke during their hospitalisation.

Method. A qualitative approach was used. A total of 14 participants who had an intracerebral infarction were recruited from four hospitals in the south of Taiwan. Altogether, 28 semistructured interviews were conducted with hospitalised patients. Barrett's power theory was used to help organise and summarise interview data. NUD*IST software and cognitive mapping were used to manage and present findings.

Findings. Qualitative analysis resulted in the identification of patients' attributes of power which was categorised into four categories: nature of awareness; degree of freedom; type of choices; manner of involvement. The “awareness” category was subsequently reduced to seven subcategories which are: awareness of changes in body function; awareness of changes in social interactions; awareness of changes in lifestyle; awareness of changes in ability; prognostic awareness; awareness of meaning in life; and awareness about karma/fate (ming). The control over patients' freedom is manifested through two subcategories: “constrained freedom” and “facilitated freedom.” Two sub-types of “choice” usually acted by patients were: “passive choice” and “active choice.” Two types of involvement usually made by stroke patients: “detached involvement” and “attached involvement.”

Conclusion. Evidence demonstrated those patients' decisions to act or not was influenced greatly by their perceptions of their own power. This finding suggested that patients' power fluctuates over time. These findings could help nurses to understand how stroke patients empower themselves during hospitalisation and help nurses to work effectively with stroke patients.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Journal of Qualitative Methods
Subtitle of host publicationPosters presented at the 7th Advances in Qualitative Methods International Conference Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia 13–16 July 2006
PublisherSAGE Publications
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2006


  • stroke


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