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Experiences of Upper Limb Somatosensory Retraining in Persons With Stroke: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

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posted on 2022-08-26, 06:30 authored by Megan TurvilleMegan Turville, Johanne Walker, Jannette M Blennerhassett, Leeanne CareyLeeanne Carey
Purpose: The aim of this study was to explore experiences of upper limb somatosensory discrimination retraining in persons with stroke. Methods: A qualitative methodology was used within the context of a randomized control trial of somatosensory retraining: the CoNNECT trial. Participants in the CoNNECT trial completed a treatment program, known as SENSe therapy, to retrain upper limb somatosensory discrimination and recognition skills, and use of these skills in personally valued activities. Eight participants were interviewed on their experience of this therapy. Data were analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Results: Five themes represented participants' experiences of upper limb somatosensory retraining after stroke: (1) loss of sensation and desire to reclaim normality; (2) harnessing positivity in the therapeutic relationship and specialized therapy; (3) facing cognitive and emotional challenges; (4) distinct awareness of gains and differences in bodily sensations; and (5) improved functioning: control and choice in daily performance. Persons with stroke experienced somatosensory retraining as a valuable treatment that provided them with sensory and functional gains. Conclusion: Upper limb somatosensory retraining is a treatment that persons with stroke perceived as challenging and rewarding. People who have experienced stroke believed that somatosensory retraining therapy assisted them to improve their sensation, functional arm use, as well as daily performance and participation in life.


MT was supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship. The CoNNECT study was funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project grant (GNT1022684: Effective Sensory Rehabilitation After Stroke: Targeting Viable Brain Networks). Support for related research was provided by NHMRC - Project grant GNT191214, the Perpetual Foundation, the James S. McDonnell Foundation 21st Century Science Initiative in Cognitive Rehabilitation Collaborative Award (#220020413), NHMRC partnership grant GNT1134495, and Victorian Government's Operational Infrastructure Support Program. LC was supported by an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (FTO992299), and an NHMRC Career Development Award (307905).


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Frontiers in Neuroscience





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Copyright © 2019 Turville, Walker, Blennerhassett and Carey. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.