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Disabil Rehabil. 2015;37(13):1125-34. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2014.955136. Epub 2014 Aug 29.

Place attachment in stroke rehabilitation: a transdisciplinary encounter between cultural geography, environmental psychology and rehabilitation medicine.

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Center for Rehabilitation, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen , Haren , The Netherlands .



To increase understanding of stroke survivor's needs to successfully re-establish attachment to meaningful places at home and in the community.


Qualitative research methodology including in-depth interviews with stroke survivors in the clinical, post-discharge and reintegration phases of the Rehabilitation process.


Participants longed for recovery and domestic places in the clinical phase, for pre-stroke activities and roles in the post-discharge phase, and for recognition and a sense of belonging in the reintegration phase. The participants' selves had changed, while the spatial and social contexts of their homes had remained the same. Their spatial scope became smaller in both a social and a geographical sense. It was difficult to achieve a feeling of being at home in their bodies and own living environments again. The complexities that needed to be dealt with to engage with the outside world, turned participants unintentionally inwards. In particular, family members of participants with cognitive problems, longed for support and recognition in dealing with the changed personality of their spouses.


Rehabilitation should put greater effort into supporting stroke survivors and their families in home-making and community reintegration processes, and help them to re-own and renegotiate their disabled bodies and changed identities in real life. Implications for Rehabilitation The experienced self-body split, identity confusion and related mourning process should be foregrounded in the post-discharge phase rather than functional recovery, in order to help stroke survivors understand and come to terms with their changed bodies and selves. In the post-discharge and reintegration phases stroke survivors should be coached in rebuilding meaningful relations to their bodies, home and communities again. This home-making process should start at real-life sites where stroke survivors wish to (inter)act.


Continuity of patient care; environment; identity; place attachment; stroke

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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