Post-stroke return-to-work (RTW) rates reported in Singapore ranged between 38% and 55%, indicating challenges in the RTW process among individuals with stroke.
We sought to understand the lived experience of returning to work among individuals with stroke in Singapore.
This was a qualitative study using a phenomenological approach. We recruited individuals with stroke who were citizens or permanent residents of Singapore. We conducted semi-structured interviews to collect data on their lived experience of returning to work and analyzed the interview data inductively.
Twenty-seven participants completed the interviews. Their median age was 61 years (interquartile range = 54 – 64). They were mostly male (n = 19, 70.4%) and married (n = 21, 78%). Twenty participants (74%) returned to work after their stroke. Three major themes emerged from the interviews that underpinned the participants’ RTW experience. They were i) direct impact of stroke, ii) realignment of life priorities, and iii) engagement with support and resources.
RTW after stroke is complex and influenced by personal and environmental factors. Our findings suggest that individuals with stroke need continuing support to overcome stigma and discrimination, to manage expectations of their recovery process, and to better navigate resources during their RTW process in Singapore. We recommend future studies to design and test the feasibility of appropriate interventions based on our proposed strategies to better support individuals with stroke to return to work.