Win the Relay Race of Aphasia Recovery!

Aphasia Nation, Inc. has started a database of stroke-centered hospitals that are focused on building the
needed relationship between the primary stroke participants; 1) people with aphasia (PWA), 2) the
speech language pathologists (SLP) and 3) the hospitals’ stroke coordinators (SC).

There is the gap in the continuity of care for people with aphasia. The stroke/aphasia patients and their
family need to be educated about aphasia before being discharged. Otherwise, the patients discharged
to home, wait for months for rehab without knowing that there are early informal, yet highly
therapeutic language activities that can begin the recovery process without waiting until formal therapy
starts months later.

There are 5,533 EDs (Emergency Departments/hospitals) in the United States with 2,446 (44%) stroke-
centered hospitals. (Boggs, 2022). We have inventoried 129 hospitals so far, cataloguing the stroke-
centered hospital’s name, address, website, stroke certification (where possible) and whether the
hospital provides any information about aphasia on their website.

The states for the hospitals in this informal study include; FL, ME, MA, VA, MO, NC, NY, TX, MN,
HI, and ID. Our initial results are the following:
• 54 hospitals (42%) provide NO info about aphasia on their website.
• 58 hospitals (45%) provide VERY LITTLE info about aphasia on their website.
• 17 hospitals (13%) provide GOOD info about aphasia on their website.

In summary, 112 hospitals (87%) provide little to no information about aphasia while 17 (13%)
hospitals provide good information about aphasia.

People with stroke/aphasia must be provided with all the educational tools needed, and then use the
“wait time” (after discharge and before formal rehab starts), to learn the tools earlier in the recovery
process. This can provide additional months of self-directed and repetitive language activities that help
start rewiring the brain. That is the key.

The continuity of care for people with aphasia is a relay race rather than a sprint. Hospitals are built for
speed with the single-mindedness of a sprint, which makes perfect sense. The staff will do anything
they can to ensure that their patients are safe and medically stabilized before being discharged. That is
their job and they are very good at it. But after they have finished their current dash, they are
constantly getting ready for the next one.

Hospitals need to serve as the lead runner in this relay race of PWAs. While their patients are being
made physically safe and medically stabilized, hospitals also need to educate the same patients about
aphasia before being passed unknowingly to the next stage in the race.

What is missing for the lead runner is to update the website and provide the appropriate materials (e.g.,
The ABCs of Aphasia: A Stroke Primer) about aphasia. It is the educational baton which must be
passed on to their patients before being discharged for their next leg!
Signed: Johnny Appleseed of Aphasia Awareness

Thomas G. Broussard, Jr., Ph.D., [email protected],

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