Aim. Stroke should be regarded as the extraordinary adaptation challenge for a patient due to its specific course, i.e. acute onset with neurological deficits progressing over seconds to hours, life activity limitations and the necessity of hospitalization followed by rehabilitation. The sense of coherence is one of the main factors that influence the way of coping with the illness and the patients' involvement in the treatment and rehabilitation process. The aim of the present paper was to find out if there is any relationship between the sense of coherence and the knowledge of the illness, its aetiology, symptoms, treatment and prognosis.
Methods. 31 patients hospitalized in the department of neurology or rehabilitation were examined 2-2,5 months after an acute incident of stroke. Questionnaire methods were used, including the Life Orientation Questionnaire (SOC-29) about the sense of coherence and experimentally prepared by the authors the Picture of My Illness Questionnaire about the disease knowledge.
Results. There was a significant link between the sense of coherence and the knowledge of illness treatment and rehabilitation. No other correlations were found. The present results may reflect the patients' ability to discriminate subjectively important areas of knowledge from the unimportant ones which are marginalized and recognized as not useful for further development. Since the stronger sense of coherence corresponds well with the better knowledge of illness treatment and rehabilitation, it is possible to assume that both factors are inextricably linked and may contribute to the more effective way of coping with the illness.
Conclusions. For each stroke patient, it is important to evaluate his subjective sense of the illness knowledge. With regard to the medical and psychological practice, providing patients with information about undertaken and scheduled treatment options is of great significance.