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23-05-2012 | Physical rehabilitation | Article

CHANT improves communication after stroke

Abstract

Free abstract

MedWire News: The Communications Hub for Aphasia in North Tyneside (CHANT) is an effective program for improving quality of life (QoL) and communication after stroke, show study findings.

"Despite recognition of the need for increased long-term support for people with aphasia following stroke, there remains limited evidence for effective service-level interventions," explain Katharyn Mumby (Newcastle University, UK) and Anne Whitworth (Curtin University, Perth, Australia).

CHANT is an ongoing project shared between health, local authority, and third-sector services in North Tyneside to try and help poststroke patients with aphasia improve their communication skills and general QoL.

In total, 39 patients (24 men; 15 women) with aphasia, aged 69.2 years on average, were enrolled into the 12-month program following referral by their speech and language therapist at a mean of 37.2 months after their initial stroke event.

The intervention involved once-weekly group meetings over a 6-week period exploring different aspects of communication and coping strategies for patients with aphasia. In addition, patients were encouraged to self-assess their abilities and to complete a tailored program run by experts and trained volunteers to help them meet their goals and fulfill their needs and aspirations.

The CHANT program also provided participants with trained volunteers to accompany them when they attended new courses or activities for the first time and to generally assist them in becoming more independent.

Writing in the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, Mumby and Whitworth report that the participants of CHANT significantly improved their QoL, according to the Stroke and Aphasia QoL Scale 39, by 8.3% from baseline after a mean of 10.5 months in the program. In particular, the patients achieved substantial improvements in communication (11.3% improvement) and psychosocial adjustment to stroke (14.4% improvement).

The team also found that 82% of real-life goals set as part of the tailored intervention for each participant were completely or partially achieved at 12 months.

"The findings provide foundations for further work into long-term recovery, intervention and adjustment to aphasia post-stroke," conclude Mumby and Whitworth.

MedWire (www.medwire-news.md) is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Helen Albert

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