Most tai chi studies conducted among stroke survivors have focused on physical functioning, whereas inclusion of stroke survivors' feelings and perceptions of participating in tai chi is lacking.
The aim of this study was to identify stroke survivors' feelings and perceptions of participating in a tai chi intervention during their poststroke recovery.
This qualitative descriptive study examined stories from community-dwelling stroke survivors, collected as part of a larger randomized clinical trial. To examine these stories, an inductive content analysis approach was used with a priori theoretical codes (and subcodes): (1) Feelings (confidence, enjoy, hopeful, helpful, other) and (2) Perceptions of Impact (physical abilities, mental/cognitive abilities, challenges, other). Lincoln and Guba's criteria were followed to ensure trustworthiness of the study findings.
Participants (n = 17) were on average 71 years old (range, 54–87 years), mainly men (65%), and had the option of writing their own story or having someone write it for them. Stories from these stroke survivors revealed feelings of confidence (n = 4), enjoyment (n = 7), hope (n = 1), and helpfulness (n = 15). Perceptions of the impact of tai chi on their poststroke recovery process identified improved physical abilities (n = 23), better mental/cognitive abilities (n = 12), moving forward (n = 7), and developing friendships (n = 4), with few challenges (n = 1).
Using storytelling, healthcare providers can discuss the benefits of tai chi and then relate the feelings and perceptions of other stroke survivors' experiences to encourage engagement in regular physical activity to aid in the poststroke recovery process.