Communication problems in stroke survivors set to double

Aphasia

Growing numbers of people struggling with speaking, reading and writing will put more pressure on health services 

12th December 2017 by Robert Armour 1 Comment

Fears that 40,000 stroke survivors across Scotland could be living with the communication disability aphasia by 2025, have been aired by a leading charity.  

The Stroke Association says more than 27,000 stroke survivors in Scotland have problems reading, writing, speaking and understanding language as a result of aphasia.

However, the charity’s report, Current, future and avoidable costs of stroke, predicts that around 50% more people could be living with the condition in less than 10 years’ time.

Andrea Cail, Scotland director of the Stroke Association, said: “As well as physical and emotional problems, stroke can rob people of their ability to speak, read and write – aphasia. Simple everyday tasks, such as reading a text message, ordering a coffee or saying “Merry Christmas”, can suddenly become a huge challenge.

"We know that communication support can give stroke survivors their independence again. We need to ensure there is enough support to help everyone. 

"This is particularly vital given the numbers of people having strokes and surviving is set to rise over the next decade.

“Stroke can affect people at any age, and can cause a lifetime of disability. We must act now to maximise the support available for stroke survivors.

"This support, which starts with speech and language therapy, should begin in hospital, and continue after people return home.

“Sadly, far too many people tell us that they feel abandoned after their stroke. We need to ensure that social care and support services are able to meet the demands of a growing number of stroke survivors, and that communication support services are available to the people who need this.”

Kamini Gadhok, chief executive of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, added: “The impact of not being able to communicate is life-changing and for many can be devastating. It affects both the individual and others around them. 

"We know from our stroke survey data that stroke survivors are not receiving enough vital speech and language therapy or for long enough to help them with their communication problems.”

The research was undertaken at Queen Mary University of London and London School of Economics.

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13th December 2017 by Fiona French

I am sorry that those suffering a stroke are not receiving the help they need. I can empathise. I haven't had a stroke but have been left with brain damage and am disabled due to long term consumption of a benzodiazepine, taken as prescribed, and subsequent withdrawal on medical advice. I have spent 3.5 years in bed and now need a walking frame/wheelchair. My memory is poor. For three years I could not read or write, had great difficulty processing speech making conversations difficult, TV impossible to follow. These symptoms are shared by many trying to withdraw from psychiatric drugs. Some find it difficult to talk. Trying to formulate sentences and finding the right words can be problematic. We receive no help, nothing. I was denied home visits. Did receive some physiotherapy. My doctors are unwilling to discuss the nature of my health problems and their cause. I said to my GP "If I had had a stroke, I imagine things would be very different." Well, at least I might have had a conversation about it. I am currently involved in a Scottish and UK-wide campaign to make the public fully aware what will happen to them if they suffer iatrogenic harm from drugs of dependence.