Survey of survivors' perspective on return to work after stroke

Robert J. Hartke*, Robert Trierweiler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Purpose: To describe the development and results of a detailed survey on return to work (RTW) after stroke completed by survivors at various stages of recovery. Method: This study used a multi-method qualitative and quantitative research strategy to design and implement a 39-item survey for stroke survivors. Individual interviews, focus groups, and working committees were used to conceptualize the issues and translate them into a survey format. Surveys were distributed in regular and electronic mail. Groups of rehabilitation professionals, employers, and stroke survivors were assembled to review findings and obtain feedback to aide in interpretation. Results: Overall 715 surveys were completed. The respondents were on average 54 years of age, mostly white, well-educated, urban dwelling, and in skilled occupations. Results are described in seven areas: financial, stroke impairments, organizational, work and psychological issues, interpersonal support, and therapy. Several salient findings are described including the role of fatigue, under utilization of vocational rehabilitation (VR) services, and motivational factors related to finances, self-esteem, work, and workplace relationships. Conclusion: Although earning an income is a strong motivation to RTW, salary decreases in importance when compared with other psychological benefits. Fatigue was rated as the second highest impairment barrier to RTW and persisted as a relevant impediment over time. Attitudes of co-workers and flexibility in work schedule were viewed as most helpful to the RTW process, whereas work stress was viewed as the greatest impediment to return. Only 24% of the sample received VR counseling with more respondents receiving counseling if they returned 6 months or longer after their stroke. Other trends and clinical and research implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-334
Number of pages9
JournalTopics in stroke rehabilitation
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2015


  • Cerebrovascular accident
  • Fatigue
  • Return to work
  • Stroke survivor survey
  • Stroke vocational rehabilitation
  • Work stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Community and Home Care
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Survey of survivors' perspective on return to work after stroke'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this