People with chronic aphasia should be offered therapy to gain benefits in receptive and expressive language, and communication in everyday environments.
Reference: Allen, Mehta, McClure, & Teasell, 2012
NHMRC level of Evidence: I
Rationale: Even for people with chronic aphasia (> 6 months post stroke onset), there is evidence to support the use of a number of treatments such as the use of computer-based treatments, constraint-induced language therapy, group language therapies and training conversation/communication partners. Further research is required to determine the effectiveness of other aphasia interventions in the chronic stage.
In 2012, Allen and colleagues completed a non-systematic review that looked at the effectiveness of interventions for chronic aphasia (initiated more than 6 months post stroke).
The study included 21 RCTs which were rated for methodological quality using the PEDro scale. The majority of the studies were rated as "good" quality (PEDro score = 6-8/10).
FINDINGS: The review provided evidence for “computer-based treatments, constraint-induced therapy, intensive therapy, group language therapies, and training conversation/communication partners” (pp 523) with individuals with chronic aphasia.
NOTES: Several of these results were supported by only one RCT and various therapies that have shown promising results in the acute setting have not been researched in the chronic stages (e.g. telerehabilitation).
OVERALL CONCLUSION: There is evidence to support the use of a number of treatments for chronic aphasia post stroke. Further research is required to determine the individual characteristics that influence treatment effectiveness and to explore the effectiveness of other aphasia interventions in the chronic stage.
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Professor Linda Worrall