Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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Perspectives of people with aphasia post-stroke towards personal recovery and living successfully: a systematic review and thematic synthesis

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posted on 2021-11-19, 16:33 authored by Molly Manning, Anne MacFarlane, Anne HickeyAnne Hickey, Sue Franklin

Background: There is increased focus on supporting people with chronic conditions to live well via person-centred, integrated care. There is a growing body of qualitative literature examining the insider perspectives of people with post-stroke aphasia (PWA) on topics relating to personal recovery and living successfully (PR-LS). To date no synthesis has been conducted examining both internal and external, structural influences on living well. In this study, we aimed to advance theoretical understanding of how best to promote and support PR-LS by integrating the perspectives of PWA on a wide range of topics relating to PR-LS. This is essential for planning and delivering quality care.

Methods and findings: We conducted a systematic review, following PRISMA guidelines, and thematic synthesis. Following a search of 7 electronic databases, 31 articles were included and critically appraised using predetermined criteria. Inductive and iterative analysis generated 5 analytical themes about promoting PR-LS. Aphasia occurs in the context of a wider social network that provides valued support and social companionship and has its own need for formal support. PWA want to make a positive contribution to society. The participation of PWA is facilitated by enabling environments and opportunities. PWA benefit from access to a flexible, responsive, life-relevant range of services in the long-term post-stroke. Accessible information and collaborative interactions with aphasia-aware healthcare professionals empower PWA to take charge of their condition and to navigate the health system.

Conclusion: The findings highlight the need to consider wider attitudinal and structural influences on living well. PR-LS are promoted via responsive, long-term support for PWA, friends and family, and opportunities to participate autonomously and contribute to the community. Shortcomings in the quality of the existing evidence base must be addressed in future studies to ensure that PWA are meaningfully included in research and service development initiatives.

Systematic review registration: International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews PROSPERO 2017: CRD42017056110.


SPHeRE | Funder: Health Research Board / HRB | Grant ID: SPHeRE-2013-1



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Published Citation

Manning M, MacFarlane A, Hickey A, Franklin S. Perspectives of people with aphasia post-stroke towards personal recovery and living successfully: a systematic review and thematic synthesis. PLoS One. 2019 Mar 22;14(3):e0214200.

Publication Date

22 Mar 2019

PubMed ID



  • Health Psychology

Research Area

  • Population Health and Health Services


Public Library of Science (PLoS)


  • Published Version (Version of Record)