Travelling by bus can be a great challenge for people affected by stroke. Alexandra Olofsson;s research aims to gain knowledge that will help them to participate in everyday activities outside the home.

Want to help stroke victims in everyday life

Published: 9 December 2013

Shop for food, borrow a book, ride the bus or crossing a street - just like nothing for most people. But for those who have had a stroke the very thought can seem like an insurmountable challenge. Alexandra Olofsson is a graduate student in occupational therapy. Her research focuses on the sense of participation in public spaces for people affected by stroke.

The aim is to enhance the understanding which can lead to that stroke survivors may have greater opportunities to participate in everyday activities outside the home.

This increases the chances that they can be involved in various social contexts.

-We are not made to be alone, we are social beings Alexandra says.

What is your educational and professional background?

-I took my occupational therapy degree January 2002 when the program was at the Health Sciences Education in Boden, it entered the university in 2000. In 2006 the department moved to Luleå and since 2003 is occupational therapy education entirely remotely.

-After graduation I started working at a private treatment center for young people aged 16-24 years with neuropsychiatric disorders (ADHD, Asperger's syndrome). I worked there for eight years before I got the opportunity in 2010 to begin working at the university with education in occupational training.

-It felt great fun and I get along very well. Before that I had also taken some courses in occupational therapy at the advanced level and written my essay. Then when I came to the university I continued reading courses so I could charge my master's degree in spring 2012.

Why did you research?

-I got this incredible opportunity and definitely wanted to jump on it. It feels like a good development and challenge for myself, at the same time there is a career opportunity.

-I think that research in occupational therapy must grow. We are an important profession with very important knowledge that can help many people in their daily activities in everyday life.

What is it like to do research? What is most difficult, what is the most fun?

-I see it as an education in five years. To research means there are many new things that you have to familiarize yourself with and processes that you will come in contact with.

-Since I just started my research, it is difficult to say exactly what is difficult and fun. But I think, among other things, that it will be fun and exciting to learn a lot about the research process, methodology, and the like. And of course, about the actual target group and their situation.

-It's important to have jacking from the tutor and other students who are at different deep in their research process. And I feel that I have here.

How is the research done?

-Through interviews, but also through observation. I will study what people with stroke have experiences of in engagement in activity in public spaces with a particular focus on activities outside the home.

-Later participants will be interviewed in order to give a deeper understanding of the situations that are perceived problematic. Some people will also be monitored over time to capture their experience of change.

-During the study, participants will have the opportunity to take their own pictures of everyday situations that we can talk about in order to find ways to facilitate participation and activity outside the home.