latest health care news

18.06.20

Stroke Association launches digital guide for people with aphasia

The Stroke Association has sought to help as many as 350,000 stroke survivors suffering from aphasia, a common communication disability, who are at a greater risk of becoming lonelier and more isolated during the coronavirus pandemic.

While many across the UK have turned to technology to keep them connected with their loved ones, the charity is keen to highlight the challenges some stroke survivors with aphasia face getting online. In response, the charity has launched the ‘Getting Online for People with Aphasia’ guide to mark Aphasia Awareness Month.

The newly-launched digital guide will:

  • Equip stroke survivors’ who have aphasia with the skills they need to get online and use tools, such as Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook and Zoom, so they can keep in touch with family and friends
  • Enable stroke survivors to connect with the stroke survivor community

The digital guide was designed following a UK-wide consultation of stroke survivors with aphasia.

It features helpful information and step-by-step guidance on how to get online and search the internet. Using aphasia-friendly text supported by pictures and key words, it can be used with a text reader and covers the use of many devices, including computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Aphasia is a language and communication disorder, most commonly caused by a stroke. Of the 1.2 million stroke survivors in the UK, around a third have aphasia, which can affect a person’s ability to speak, read, write – and sometimes understand speech and use numbers.

The condition is shown to affect a person’s language skills, not their intellect.

 iStock-1054912546

Of the 1.2 million stroke survivors in the UK, around a third have aphasia, which can affect a person’s ability to speak, read, write – and sometimes understand speech and use numbers
 

Juliet Bouverie, Chief Executive of the Stroke Association said: “When stroke strikes part of your brain shuts down and so does part of you. A third of stroke survivors have aphasia, which can rob you of your ability to read, write or speak.

“This pandemic has created an epidemic of loneliness, particularly among stroke survivors with aphasia. Everyone’s world has shrunk due to the pandemic but imagine the agony of being confined to the walls of your own head.

“This guide provides a vital lifeline and gives you the skills and confidence to get online. It’s particularly helpful for keeping in touch with loved ones, guiding you through things like video calling. Aphasia doesn’t go away and that’s why we’ve developed a tool to help overcome the challenges that you might face.

“It opens up a world of opportunities that may not have been previously accessible to stroke survivors with aphasia. If you’re a stroke survivor with aphasia who needs help getting the guide or would like a printed version, please contact our Stroke Helpline (0303 3033 100).

“Stroke is a lonely experience, but we’re here to support you to rebuild your life after stroke. The guide will also help you to access My Stroke Guide an online community of stroke survivors where you can share experiences, ask questions and find solutions.”

READ MORE: How are we improving outcomes for those affected by stroke?

READ MORE: NHS turns to artificial intelligence to speed up stroke care

Kamini Gadhok MBE, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, added: “We know that a third of stroke survivors have aphasia and problems communicating and understanding how to use those little things that we take for granted, such as online technology to keep in touch with others.

“Even being able to read a phone number can be a huge struggle. These barriers often leave individuals feeling isolated and alone, so this new tool will help them to stay in touch with loved ones, keep connected with friends and find support from the aphasia community.”

The ‘Getting Online for People with Aphasia’ guide is available at: www.stroke.org.uk/aphasiaonline. It is the first element in a suite of digital resources for people affected by aphasia which the Stroke Association are producing.

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