The full picture: Assessing functional communication in people with post-stroke aphasia

Takeaway

  • Using multiple measures of functional communication is needed to capture the full range of verbal and nonverbal communication abilities in people with post-stroke aphasia.

  • This is important in the design of randomized control trials and cautions against the use of single outcome measures of functional communication.

Why this matters

  • ‘Functional communication’ describes communication of messages in natural or everyday contexts using the full suite of verbal and/or nonverbal modes.

  • Functional communication impairment in people with post-stroke aphasia may be due to a combination of acquired language impairment (verbal) and cognitive impairments (nonverbal), all underpinned by structural brain lesions.

  • Measures of different aspects of functional communication, including tests and rating scales, are diverse and rarely used in conjunction, meaning that results from different studies using different measures are inconclusive and a comprehensive assessment of functional communication is difficult to achieve.