Fellow: Mrs Helen Lawton
Stroke is the most frequent cause of aphasia, a condition which affects someone’s ability to speak or understand what others say. About a third of patients have aphasia immediately after stroke, and for a fifth of all stroke survivors, aphasia persists for many years as a chronic consequence of their brain injury.
A common symptom of aphasia for many stroke survivors is anomia, or word finding difficulties. Treatment with a speech & language (SL) therapist can be effective, but is resource intensive. Training on home computer tasks holds potential for improving anomia. It is economically attractive due to its cost-effectiveness, but lacks a therapist’s guidance.
This study investigates the importance of the SL therapist-patient relationship by comparing traditional treatment with an SL therapist, to treatment on a home computer task.
No tool currently exists to measure the SL therapist-patient relationship. The study will develop one based on existing principles, and call it the working-alliance tool. 12 stroke survivors with anomia will then be given home treatment on a computer task, or be treated by an SL therapist. The working-alliance tool will be used to measure the success of the treatments in comparison with other more established tools
If successful, the results could help SL professionals better understand and measure the benefit of the therapist-patient relationship, and examine its effect when setting rehabilitation goals.
1 October 2013