Feasibility of a Communication Rehabilitation Program for Patients with Aphasia after Stroke: a Mixed-Methods Study
Rijssen, M.N. van
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Title: Feasibility of a Communication Rehabilitation Program for Patients with Aphasia after Stroke: a Mixed-Methods Study. Background and aim: Twenty to twenty-five per cent of all stroke survivors have aphasia. The Dutch Guideline for Stroke (2008) recommends at least two hours of aphasia therapy per week. However, the intensity of aphasia therapy in the Netherlands is significantly lower. To provide hospitalized patients with aphasia after stroke more aphasia therapy, a Communication Rehabilitation Program (CR-program) was developed that nurses can provide on a Stroke Unit. Research question: The research question was: What is the feasibility of a Communication Rehabilitation Program provided by nurses for patients with aphasia after stroke on a Stroke Unit of a University Medical Centre? Method: A mixed-methods feasibility study was conducted. Feasibility of the CR-program was assessed by evaluating attitudes of nurses towards the program and compliance with the program. In the pre-test, nurses filled in a questionnaire focusing on barriers to and facilitators for implementation. The CR-program was then implemented during ten weeks. In the post-test, nurses filled in the questionnaire for barriers and facilitators and a newly developed feasibility questionnaire. Nurses’ attitudes were further explored in a focus group discussion. Results: Fourteen out of eighteen nurses provided informed consent. The questionnaire for barriers and facilitators, the feasibility questionnaire and the focus group discussion revealed that, despite initial time barriers on the Stroke Unit, nurses generally found the CR-program feasible on their Stroke Unit. Compliance with the CR-program improved during implementation. Conclusion: The CR-program was feasible for nurses on a Stroke Unit. Recommendations: Further research should focus on long-term follow up and effectiveness of the CR-program. The CR-program should also be investigated in other contexts such as rehabilitation centres.