Stroke Association

The charity for people who have suffered from strokes has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the related condition aphasia

Stroke Association's aphasia campaign
Stroke Association's aphasia campaign

What is it?

The Stroke Association has launched a campaign aimed at GPs and health professionals to raise awareness about aphasia, a communication condition that affects about a third of stroke survivors. Aphasia affects a person’s ability to read, write and speak, but not their intelligence.

The association has commissioned a short animation highlighting some of the challenges facing people with aphasia and offering solutions on how to communicate with people with the condition. The association spoke to more than 800 stroke survivors with aphasia to establish their views on what would help before producing the film. Suggestions in the video include facing the person when speaking and making use of drawings and gestures when asking questions. The broadcaster John Humphrys has provided the voiceover.

How has the campaign been publicised?

The charity emailed 21,000 GPs with a link to the animation and has promoted it through the trade media and its own professional network. It’s also working with the Royal College of GPs to promote it to its members. Fifteen thousand postcards have been produced for people with the condition to take to their GPs to encourage them to watch the video.

What does the charity say?

Chris Clark, director of life after stroke services at the Stroke Association, says: "Staff in GP practices and community health centres play a vital role in supporting stroke survivors to rebuild and maintain their health and confidence. Many stroke survivors tell us about the extra effort by some staff to support them and the difference this makes. But for others there’s still more to be done in providing them with information about the additional services and support that’s available out there."

Third Sector verdict

It’s a nice, clear animation that shows the communication challenges that people with aphasia face and includes lots of practical tips that health professionals should find useful. The charity is largely relying on email and its partnerships with other organisations to spread the word about the campaign to health professionals, but it perhaps should consider making more use of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

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