Stroke health professionals’ management of depression after post-stroke aphasia: a qualitative study Academic Article uri icon


  • Background: People with post-stroke aphasia commonly experience mental health conditions, with depression having a high prevalence. An understanding of current practice may inform ways to improve psychological care for people with aphasia. Aim: To explore current practice for managing depression after post-stroke aphasia from the perspective of stroke health professionals. Method: Five semi-structured focus groups were conducted with 39 stroke health professionals across the care continuum. Focus groups were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using the method of Interpretive Description. Results: Analysis of verbatim transcripts revealed four core themes: (1) concomitant aphasia and depression after stroke is a challenging area of rehabilitation, (2) mood difficulties and depression are not always a high stroke rehabilitation priority, (3) approaches to identification and management are ad hoc, and (4) stroke health professionals are trying to bridge the gap between clients' psychological care needs and limited services. Sub-themes were also identified. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that health professionals are challenged by and limited in managing depression after post-stroke aphasia. Health professionals have the opportunity to improve services through the translation of evidence-based interventions. The integration of mental health care into stroke rehabilitation may be achieved through policy development, leadership and specialist training. Implications for rehabilitation People with aphasia need routine mood screening using aphasia-specific clinical tools and communication support. Stroke health professionals report a need for communication partner training to facilitate mental healthcare for people with aphasia. Family members need to be involved in aphasia rehabilitation to gain psychological care for themselves and the person with aphasia.

publication date

  • 2019