Imagine having a conversation one day and not being able speak the next.
For many stroke patients, that’s their reality.
One in three stroke survivors are diagnosed with aphasia. It’s a condition that dramatically affects a person’s ability to have a conversation, read and write.
“Think of a patient who has a mobility problem. They could use a wheelchair or a walker and the building could be modified to include ramps and elevators,” explained Jessica Bouchard, a Speech Language Pathologist with Providence Care.
“But what about when a person has communication impairments? For those individuals, we have to be the mobility aid, the communication ramp.”
Providence Care, southeastern Ontario’s leading provider of rehabilitative care, hosted a two day workshop in early December for healthcare professionals who work in stroke care, to learn about the Aphasia Institute’s Supportive Conversations for Adults with Aphasia (SCA) tool.
The tool includes information about aphasia in accessible, picture-based formats, basic e-learning modules, and consultation services to make it easier to communicate with patients living with aphasia.
“It’s about training conversation partners,” Bouchard said. “The goal of this workshop is to train health care professionals in order to create communication ramps in the same way that wheelchair ramps exist for those with physical disabilities.”
The workshop included healthcare professionals engaging in role playing exercises, and putting their training to the test by interacting with people who have aphasia.
“I’m thrilled we were able to host this workshop so that expertise in stroke care and aphasia could be extended across the province,” said Kathi Colwell, Program Manager with Providence Care. “Having our staff receive this training helps to provide accessible and equitable care for those living with aphasia.”
Providence Care was able to host the free two-day workshop, which would normally cost $17,760, thanks to funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. In April, the Ministry announced it would spend $1.2 million dollars over three years, so that training developed by the Aphasia Institute could be available for healthcare professionals across Ontario.
“Without the funding, staff at Providence Care would likely not be able to attend the training,” Bouchard said.