Social Isolation and Physical Barriers in the Houses of Stroke Survivors in Rural China


      • Many barriers exist in the houses of stroke survivors in the rural areas of China.
      • The home physical barriers are closely related to social isolation.
      • Eliminating or decreasing home barriers could be a feasible and effective approach to improving social integration.



      To describe the home barriers and social isolation of stroke survivors in the rural areas of China and to explore which home barriers are associated with social isolation.


      Cross-sectional survey.


      Structured interviews and observation in the participants' homes.


      Community-dwelling stroke survivors in the rural areas of China (N=818).


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Physical barriers in rural homes were surveyed using a home fall hazards assessment. Social isolation was identified if ≥2 of the following indicators were observed: low frequency of getting out of the home, lacking leisure activities, and living alone in the previous 3 months.


      The prevalence rates of 18 among 30 home barriers were >20%, and the highest was 93% (lack of handrails in the bathroom). The prevalence of social isolation was 30%. Three home barriers were independently related to social isolation. These were a distant toilet (odds ratio [OR], 2.363; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.527–3.658; P<.001), unsuitable seating (OR, 1.571; 95% CI, 1.026–2.404; P=.038), and inaccessible light switches (OR, 1.572; 95% CI, 1.064–2.324; P=.023).


      Many barriers exist in the houses of stroke survivors in rural China. Some of them are related to social isolation. Eliminating or decreasing home barriers could be a feasible and effective approach to reducing social isolation.


      List of abbreviations:

      CI (confidence interval), OR (odds ratio)
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