Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Hemiplegia in Men: A Case Study

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Hemiplegia in Men: A Case Study

Article excerpt

There are more than 600,000 people with disabilities worldwide (World Health Organization, 2007), and hemiplegia is one of the more common disabling conditions. It is defined as the paralysis of one side of the body (Pedretti, Smith, & Pendleton, 2001). It is caused by disease or injury to the opposite hemisphere of the brain. People with hemiplegia often display difficulties in mobility, cardiopulmonary function, and sensory functioning (Savinelli, Timm, & Montgomery, 1978). These difficulties affect their activities in daily living and thus have a negative impact on the quality of their life (Kong & Yang, 2006; Pedretti et al., 2001).

Conservative therapy for people with hemiplegia involves medical and surgical treatments. These aim to prevent complications from injuries such as cardiac diseases and pneumonia. Physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy are also common treatments used to improve physical functions and maximise daily living and communication skills (Pedretti et al., 2001; Sunnerhagen, 2006).

Having disabilities, people may face difficulties in their daily lives, such as dependence on others in self-care and work. They may feel angry, depressed, and guilty when facing these challenges (The Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2007). This may be particularly true with men, on whom the image of masculinity is projected, including the attributes of power, control, strength, independence, and dominance (Tager, Good, & Morrison, 2006). This image may hinder men from expressing their difficulties in dealing with their disabilities. This problem is even more serious in traditional Chinese culture, where men are encouraged to take up all responsibilities, rather than to share their needs and feelings with others (Tam, Chan, Lam, & Lam, 2003). Note, however, that previous research shows that the efficacy of hemiplegia treatments was not gender-determined (Chen, Mu, & Li, 2006); no significant gender difference was noted in hemiplegia treatments. As a result, healthcare professionals may not be aware of male patients' concerns in the rehabilitation process.

In this paper, a single case study is adopted to discern and evaluate the needs and difficulties of a man with hemiplegia. Alternative treatment approaches, with a focus on psychosocial needs, have been proposed to assist exploring his potential, and to motivate him to undergo healthcare treatment. A comprehensive literature review about hemiplegia and men with disabilities, a case study detailing the challenges of a typical man with hemiplegia, the implications of the study on healthcare practice, and the study limitations are discussed below.

Literature Review

Men with Hemiplegia

More than 600 million people worldwide live with various disabilities that are caused by chronic diseases, injuries, violence, and aging (World Health Organization, 2007). Hemiplegia is one of the more common disabilities, and may be caused by neurological problems like stroke and brain injury (Pedretti et al., 2001). Men with hemiplegia may have difficulties in self-care, home management, community integration, vocational skills, and leisure skills (Phipps & Richardson, 2007). Their vocational and sexual lives are also seriously affected (Marini, 2001). Comprehensive rehabilitation programs, such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and dietary and nursing care programs, are essential to facilitate independence in daily living in men with hemiplegia.

The culturally-dominant notions associated with masculinity may influence health practices (Gough, 2006). Men also tend to adopt an unhealthy diet (Wardle et al., 2004), take risks, and take up sports in terms of masculine attributes rather than for health benefits (Messner, 1992). These negative health practices may increase the risk of sustaining injuries and disabilities like hemiplegia (Good et al., 2008).

Depression in Men with Hemiplegia

Men with hemiplegia display locomotion difficulties, speech deficits, and seizures, which lower their sense of self-esteem (Adamson, 2003; Pearson, Carr, & Halliwell, 1985; Tam, 1995; Tam et al. …

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