Experiences of an exercise referral scheme from the perspective of people with chronic stroke: a qualitative study

Helen Sharma, Cathy Bulley, Frederike M.J. van Wijck*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To explore stroke survivors' experiences of undertaking exercise in the context of an exercise referral scheme for people with chronic stroke.

DESIGN: A qualitative design, using semi-structured interviews within a constructivist framework to explore the experiences of individual participants. Verbatim transcripts were thematically analysed. Rigour mechanisms included respondent validation, peer checking, and reflexivity.

SETTING: An exercise referral scheme, based at a leisure centre in South London.

PARTICIPANTS: Nine community-dwelling stroke survivors took part; 5 male and 4 female, mean age 51 years (range 37-61 years); time post stroke 1-4 years, with mixed ethnic backgrounds.

FINDINGS: Participants described greater physical and psychological well-being following participation in the exercise referral scheme. Categories that emerged were: improved exercise engagement and confidence, more internalised perceptions of control and enhanced lifestyle, work and social roles. Categories linked to form a master theme, labelled: 'Exercise Referral Scheme as a catalyst for regaining independence.'

CONCLUSIONS: This study supports the value of exercise referral schemes in enabling people with stroke to engage in exercise. For participants in this study, the scheme seemed influential in the process of regaining independence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-343
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Early online date15 Jul 2011
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012


  • adaptation
  • psychological
  • chronic disease
  • community health services
  • exercise therapy/psychology
  • stroke
  • exercise
  • independent living/psychology
  • interviews as topic
  • physical activity
  • middle aged
  • outpatients/psychology
  • physical therapy modalities/psychology
  • qualitative research
  • referral and consultation
  • stroke/psychology
  • stroke rehabilitation
  • survivors/psychology
  • exercise referral scheme
  • community


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