‘You needed to rehab … families as well’: family members’ own goals for aphasia rehabilitation

Document Type

Journal Article


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Psychology and Social Science




Howe, T., Davidson, B., Worrall, L., Hersh, D. J., Ferguson, A., Sherratt, S., & Gilbert, J. (2012). ‘You needed to rehab … families as well’: family members’ own goals for aphasia rehabilitation. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 47(5), 511-521.


Background: Aphasia affects family members in addition to the individuals with the communication disorder. In order to develop appropriate services for the relatives of people with aphasia post-stroke, their rehabilitation goals need to be identified. Aim: The aim of the current investigation was to identify the rehabilitation goals that family members of individuals with aphasia have for themselves. Methods & Procedures: Forty-eight family members of adults with aphasia post-stroke participated in in-depth semi-structured interviews to identify the rehabilitation goals they had for themselves. All the interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using qualitative content analysis. Outcomes & Results: Analysis revealed seven categories of goals that the family members had for themselves: to be included in rehabilitation, to be provided with hope and positivity, to be able to communicate and maintain their relationship with the person with aphasia, to be given information, to be given support, to look after their own well-being, and to be able to cope with new responsibilities. A few participants reported that, at certain times during the rehabilitation process, they did not have any goals for themselves. Conclusions & Implications: This study highlights that family members of individuals with aphasia have a number of aphasia-related rehabilitation goals for themselves. In order to provide a family-centred approach to rehabilitation, health professionals, including speech–language pathologists, need systematically to identify and address family members’ goals in light of the categories revealed in this investigation.