An Innovative Therapeutic Program for Aphasia Patients and Their Relatives
P Borenstein, S Linell, P Währborg
Eleven aphasia patients and seven family members participated in a five-day residential course led by a speech pathologist, a psychologist and a neurologist. The aim of the course was to give the aphasics and their relatives information on the etiology, treatment possibilities and prognosis of aphasia; work on personal and interpersonal problems through psychological counseling; improve language function through comprehensive and intensive stimulation; examine the psychological, linguistic and neurological effects of the intensive course. The course participants met again one year after the course and were found to have changed positively both psychologically and interpersonally but, as expected, only to a minor degree linguistically and neurologically. Through this intensive course it was possible to assess the problems of the families more easily than in the hospital. The patients and their relatives reported that they had learnt how to identify and to deal with their psychological problems in a more constructive way. They also felt that they had support from the other families and were able to share their experiences. We found that this type of intervention had many positive effects on the ability of the participants to cope with the chronic disability.
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