For stroke survivors with communication difficulties who may spend many weeks or even months in hospital, early intervention and regular speech and language therapy support is a crucial part of the recovery process.

Jennifer Thomson, Clinical Speech and Language Therapist for Stroke Services, applied for funding to purchase iPads for stroke patients to enable a ‘loan out’ scheme for patients to use independently on the stroke wards to increase their therapy activity. This project is at the heart of the team’s patient care model which strives to integrate technology to increase therapeutic recovery time.

Staff have been provided with training on specialist applications using the iPads to provide patients with digital activities they can complete to aid their communication recovery outside of therapy sessions.

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Most of the patients who have benefitted from the regular use of this technology have aphasia, a language disorder often caused by a stroke, causing communication difficulties. The time it takes to recover from aphasia varies from patient to patient, and using this technology means the therapy offered can be further tailored to their needs - as the applications can support those with mild to severe aphasia. 

One patient who has benefited from this scheme said:  

‘’It was something that I could do on my own, it gave me independence and I could see myself improving so wanted to keep going. It was something I had control over and meant I didn’t have to rely on anyone else.’’

Without funding from Leeds Hospitals Charity, staff would not be able to provide patients and carers with these additional tools that can support individuals to have the best quality of life post-stroke.

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Jennifer told us:

“The iPads have not only enabled our staff to provide new and more engaging ways of working with patients, they have also encouraged patients to drive their own recovery with our support and guidance. Use of technology to support communication recovery is in national stroke guidance, So, this technology has really enhanced what we can offer to patients and families whilst in hospital.

“We have seen really positive feedback and results so far from patients and carers who now use these software applications daily and feel empowered that they are contributing to their recovery.”

Thanks to additional funding from Leeds Hospitals Charity, Jennifer, and the stroke SLT team are underway with a wider research project exploring the experience of digital aphasia rehabilitation for stroke survivors in hospital.