Tool hopes to help stroke survivors facing social isolation

Friday, 16 February, 2024

Tool hopes to help stroke survivors facing social isolation

A new tool hopes to reduce social isolation for stroke survivors living with aphasia by making communication with loved ones easier.

The project, led by Dr Jade Dignam from The University of Queensland, received a Stroke Foundation grant to develop a package that will make text messaging easier for people living with communication difficulties, which affect around one-third of survivors of stroke.

“People with aphasia face significant and disproportionate barriers to text messaging due to deficits post-stroke. Communication difficulties can include reading and spelling difficulties that are often combined with cognitive, visual, psychological and motor deficits,” Dignam said.

The research team, including collaborators from UQ’s Queensland Aphasia Research Centre and Metro North Health’s Surgical Treatment and Rehabilitation Service, received $79,416 from the Stroke Foundation as part of the foundation’s 2023 Research Grants program.

Dignam’s research will investigate what skills are required for successful text messaging and how training can be provided for adults with post-stroke aphasia.

The team will partner with people with aphasia, family members, allied health professionals and technology experts to develop a comprehensive package involving training materials and therapy resources to support effective communication via text messaging.

The aim is to enable and empower people living with aphasia to successfully communicate, connect and complete daily activities via text message.

“Accessible technology enables communication, which is a basic human right,” Dignam said.

“For people with aphasia, text messaging offers opportunities for social connection with friends, community and family; expressing affection; seeking support; and managing health appointments and life administration appointments.”

The Stroke Foundation’s Executive Director of Stroke Services and Research, Dr Tope Adepoyibi, said this research will go a long way towards improving the lives of people with aphasia.

“Aphasia impacts a great proportion of the stroke community. We are proud to support research that enhances the lives of people with aphasia, and ensures they remain connected to the community.”

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