Patient experiences of transient ischaemic attack

  • Margaret Hewett

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The expanding field of stroke medicine lacks foundation if it fails to embrace the infrastructure of experiential evidence, instrumental in shaping future services by identification of need. Potential seriousness of fleeting illness, like transient ischaemic attack (TIA) a precursor for stroke with devastating health and social consequences may be underestimated. Lack of awareness leads to under-reporting and not accessing timely medical attention and the latter could obviate serious consequences of long-term disability. Informed choice and opportunity to avert these circumstances by lifestyle changes needs to be available to all to take responsibility for health. The literature gap of lived experience of illness needs narrowing, particularly transient illnesses like TIA that comes under the umbrella of stroke yet is a discrete illness of very short duration and nonetheless alarming. Health and social care lifetime costs of stroke are immense. Implications for evidence-based clinical practice concern influencing lifestyle changes, a role that physiotherapists could take to help avert disastrous costly outcomes consequent upon modifiable risks. This lead to a research question of: What is the lived experience of a TIA? The intention of this study was to position the research within current UK National Health Service (NHS) policy considering the historical and philosophical background and psychosocial theories of health and illness. A tension exists between increasing public awareness of health matters and improved health against unhealthy behaviours of sedentary lifestyles and poor diets leading to lifestyle diseases with budgetary implications. Multiple behaviour theories affect lifestyle change. One trigger is evidence-based information with sufficient impact to awaken a response to take responsibility for health. Influences are education, knowledge, patient-centred care, partnership, choice, empowerment, consumerism and professional roles and identity. Studies of other transient illnesses were considered.
Date of AwardMay 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Brighton

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