About one-third of stroke survivors will have aphasia. This is a language disorder which disrupts the production and comprehension of speech, as well as reading and writing. Aphasia has profound effects on a person’s quality of life and social wellbeing. Although support groups can help to reduce these effects, not everyone can access these, and stroke survivors in isolated areas or with mobility problems may be excluded.
This study will investigate whether a support group intervention can be delivered remotely to people with aphasia through a virtual island platform called Eva Park. Users will be able to access Eva Park on a computer in their home. Eva Park was specifically designed for people with aphasia, making it easy for them to use.
The study will involve volunteers from existing stroke services providing group support sessions in Eva Park to 32 people with aphasia. All users will also have unlimited, independent access to Eva Park. It will determine whether the support group intervention is feasible and acceptable, both to those who receive it and deliver it, and whether it has an impact on users’ mood, quality of life and communication.
To examine the feasibility of the intervention, recruitment details will be recorded, including any drop-out of participants from the study. All the processes involved in setting up and providing the intervention will also be recorded. Human computer interaction assessments will be conducted to see if Eva Park works well for this type of intervention.
Acceptability of the intervention will be examined by interviewing the participants with aphasia, and volunteers and co-ordinators from the stroke services to gain their views. The impact on participants’ mood, quality of life and communication will be explored via tests conducted before and after the intervention. The costs of the intervention will also be recorded.
This study will develop and document a new model of group support that is of particular relevance to isolated stroke survivors who are unable to access face-to-face services.