Co-creating digital stories with UK-based stroke survivors with the aim of synthesizing collective lessons from individual experiences of interacting with healthcare professionals

Joseph Hall*, Thilo Kroll, Frederike van Wijck, Helena Bassil-Morozow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: Stroke survivor narratives can provide valuable insight into experiences of healthcare and beyond. There is need to further understand collective lessons from stroke survivor narratives, yet prior studies utilizing digital storytelling tend to not synthesize lessons from individual experiences. This study aims to develop a novel method to co-create digital stories with stroke survivors that will aim to synthesize and portray important collective lessons from individual stroke survivors' experiences of interacting with healthcare professionals.

Methods: This study follows-up a qualitative study conducted with 30 stroke survivors exploring factors that help or hinder survivors to positively reconfigure their identity post-stroke. Five co-creation workshops were conducted with a subset of UK-based stroke survivors from this previous study. Participants were invited to join through: online workshops, an online bulletin board, and as an advisor. A four-stage workshop framework was developed through the integration of UK Design Council's Double Diamond method, digital storytelling strategies and the Behavior Change Wheel (BCW) framework for developing behavioral change interventions.

Findings: Six online workshop participants (three male, three female; aged 33–63; time since stroke 2–16 years) co-created digital stories that share six collective lessons aimed at increasing empathy and encouraging behavior change in healthcare professionals (HCPs) working with stroke survivors. Online bulletin board participants (n = 1) and advisors (n = 5) supported the co-creation process. Collective lessons identified were: (1) Stroke has a variety of symptoms that must all be considered; (2) Stroke can affect anyone of any age and not just the elderly; (3) Assumptions should not be made about a survivor's lifestyle or habits; (4) It is important to acknowledge the person behind the stroke and ensure that they are communicated with and listened to; (5) Stroke survivors can often feel unprepared for the reality of life after stroke; (6) Adapting to life after stroke is a long-term process requiring long-term support.

Conclusion: Stroke survivor stories highlighted preconceptions, attitudes and behaviors embedded within healthcare that negatively impacted their experiences and recovery. The novel methodology employed in this study enabled these stories to be synthesized into collective lessons to bring about improvements in these behaviors in future.
Original languageEnglish
Article number877442
Number of pages18
JournalFrontiers in Rehabilitation Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2022


  • co-creation
  • stroke
  • digital storytelling
  • participatory design
  • healthcare professionals
  • behavior change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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