Kylén M, von Koch L, Wottrich AW, Elf M
Health Place 76 (-) 102852 [2022-07-00; online 2022-06-23]
Stay-at-home recommendations to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus have had a major impact on people's everyday lives. However, while the evidence indicates that such recommendations have caused distress, anxiety, and fear among the public, little is known about how persons living with complex health conditions, e.g., disability after stroke, have experienced and handled the situation. We interviewed fourteen participants (7 women, 7 men) aged 61-91 years living in ordinary housing during summer 2020 to explore how people who recovered after a stroke experienced their everyday lives in their homes and close surroundings during the COVID-19 pandemic recommendations. Three intertwined themes were constructed from the narrative data and the iterative thematic analysis: (1) Places within and out of reach, (2) Upholding activities-strategies and structures, and (3) Adapting to new circumstances. The findings suggest that places within reach were important to maintain activities and provide structure in daily life. The participants seemed to make use of their previous experiences of adjusting to new circumstances after stroke when adapting to living under the stay-at-home recommendations. In addition, feeling that they now shared the restrictions with all other people in society seemed to ease their situations. Access to nature and spaces in the close surroundings was essential for staying socially connected and receiving support in daily life. The significance of the home and the neighbourhood for health experiences among people who recently have had a stroke should inform rehabilitation interventions both during and after pandemics and environmental planning.