Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
WalshM2019_DisabilRehabil_AcceptedManuscript.pdf (415.23 kB)

The experience of recurrent fallers in the first year after stroke

Download (415.23 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2022-04-28, 15:12 authored by Mary Walsh, Rose Galvin, David WilliamsDavid Williams, Joseph A Harbison, Sean Murphy, Ronan Collins, Dominick JH McCabe, Morgan Crowe, Frances HorganFrances Horgan

Purpose: Understanding the experiences of fallers after stroke could inform falls-prevention interventions, which have not yet shown effectiveness in this population. The aim of this study was to explore the experience of recurrent fallers post-stroke in relation to recovery and living with falls.

Methods: Participants who had more than one fall in the first year after stroke were identified from a prospective cohort study. The methods of grounded theory informed data collection and analysis. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, audio-recorded and transcribed. Coding was conducted and categories were developed inductively.

Results: Nine stroke survivors aged 53-85 were interviewed 18-22 months post-discharge. Participants had experienced between 2 and 9 falls and one participant suffered a fracture. Three inter-linked categories were identified: (i) Judging the importance of falls by exploring cause and consequence, (ii) getting back up, and (iii) being careful.

Conclusions: Stroke survivors' assessment of their own falls-risk and their individual priorities contribute to their decisions around activity participation. "Being careful" could be described as a form of self-managing falls-risk. The inclusion of self-management principles, peer-educators, and education to rise from the floor in falls-management programmes warrants investigation. Not all falls were considered equally important by participants. This could be considered when defining falls-related outcomes. Implications for Rehabilitation Healthcare professionals may be able to offer an increased sense of control to stroke survivors through education about how to avoid particular causes and consequences of falls. Falls-related advice should be specific, relevant to the individual, and respectful of their sense of identity. Being able to rise from the floor appears to be important for coping with falls and falls-risk. Professionals should be cognisant of the potential differences of opinion between stroke survivors and their families around management of falls-risk.


Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship | Funder: Irish Research Council | Grant ID: GOIPG/2013/1307



This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Disability and Rehabilitation on 26 September 2017, available online:

Published Citation

Walsh ME. et al. The experience of recurrent fallers in the first year after stroke. Disabil Rehabil. 2019;41(2):142-149

Publication Date

26 September 2017

PubMed ID



  • Beaumont Hospital
  • Medicine
  • School of Physiotherapy

Research Area

  • Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders
  • Population Health and Health Services
  • Vascular Biology


Taylor & Francis


  • Accepted Version (Postprint)