The spatiality of the acute stroke unit: the lived experience of stroke survivors and healthcare practitioners

Kitty Suddick, Vinette Cross, Pirjo Vuoskoski, Graham Stew

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Background: Recently in the United Kingdom, traditional comprehensive stroke units were closed or reorganised into acute and hyperacute stroke units which emphasised assessment, medical management and shorter lengths of stay.
Aim: This study looked to reclaim the acute stroke unit as a human, lived through experience from two meaningful horizonal perspectives; that of stroke survivors and healthcare practitioners.
Method: Working with detailed interview accounts from four stroke survivors and four healthcare practitioners, this study drew on phenomenology and philosophical hermeneutics to explore the experience of being on an acute stroke unit. This presentation is structured around maps that were developed as part of the hermeneutic process.
Findings: This study highlights the meaningful holding and transitional contribution of the space of the acute stroke unit, and that patients as well as healthcare practitioners, can practice as well as transition in this space. The findings indicate that transition for stroke survivors is more expansive than recovery orientated. These transitions can be absent, or in-process, protective, necessitous or potentially driven transitions, and that people can quickly and dynamically move between them. For the healthcare practitioners, the space of the stroke unit offered them a sense of belonging, where they felt they could be true to themselves and flourish and thrive. However, the findings also demonstrated the complexity and challenge involved when they experienced a diminished sense of dwelling. Through the synthesis of these two perspectives, three key areas of new insight and understanding emerged: the spatiality of the lived experience of the acute stroke unit, suffering and thriving as a human being, and the intertwining of multiple selves in time and place.
Conclusion: This presentation will illuminate this enriched understanding, consider the permeability of horizonal landscapes, movement and dialogue between I-Thou and Thou-I, as we look to understand ourselves, another, and human living.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventHumanising Care, Health & Wellbeing Conference - Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, United Kingdom
Duration: 13 Jun 201914 Jun 2019


ConferenceHumanising Care, Health & Wellbeing Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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