The dominant view of women has changed radically during the last century. These changes have had an important impact on the way of life of women in general and, undoubtedly, on women as patients. So far, gender differences have received little attention when developing healthcare services. Stroke hits a great number of elderly women. Wyller et al. found that women seemed to be harder hit by stroke than men; they achieved lower scores in tests of motor, cognitive and ADL functions, both in the acute phase and 1 year after stroke. It is reasonable to expect that differences in outcome among male and female sufferers may in part be explained by the fact that rehabilitation services are designed primarily to meet the needs of men. de Beauvoir's feminist theory maintains that one's body is fundamental in creating the person, which is a lifelong process. Traditionally, the female body has been exposed to alienation and oppression through life. This has led women to develop a life in immanence. This we feel can be of significance in connection with rehabilitation after a stroke, particularly for elderly women. In this article we will discuss how de Beauvoir's theory can throw new light on the experiences and rehabilitation of elderly women and point to ways of improving the process of rehabilitation.
Nursing Philosophy, 2002, Vol 3, Issue 2, p. 79-89