Stroke Patients’ Free-Time Activities and Spatial Preferences During Inpatient Recovery in Rehabilitation Centers

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Objectives: To investigate which spaces stroke patients visit in their free time while undergoing inpatient recovery in rehabilitation centers, what activities they engage in, and what kind of spaces they want. Background: Research studies consistently show that stroke patients are highly inactive during rehabilitation. Much remains unknown about what patients do in their free time and how the built environment might affect their behavior and activities. Methods: Patients’ free-time activities were recorded via patient shadowing (n ¼ 70, 840 hr), and their spatial preferences were collected using a survey (n ¼ 60) in seven rehabilitation centers. Each participant was observed over one typical day (12 consecutive hours). Their activities, durations, and locations were recorded using floor plans and time log sheets. Results: Six main themes emerged from the analysis of shadowing data and patient surveys: (1) spending most free time in their room, (2) corridor as the overlooked activity hub, (3) food and beverage stations as triggers of activity, (4) wanting to socialize, (5) variety of common spaces for different activities is desired, and (6) common room’s atmosphere, comfort, style, and view are important. Even though socializing with other patients was mentioned as a primary reason for visiting common spaces in the survey, patients spent most of their free time alone. Conclusions: Corridor emerged as a space with great potential to motivate and support various activities of patients. Patients’ free-time activities could contribute to their recovery, and the built environment may play a role in facilitating and supporting these activities.


Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)96
Number of pages113
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022

External IDs

Scopus 85134630487


Research priority areas of TU Dresden