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As many as 40,000 people in Scotland alone could be living with the communication disability aphasia by 2025, new research suggests.
According to statistics from the Stroke Association, some 25,000 individuals in the country are already living with the condition, which can be a lasting effect of a stroke, affecting a person's ability to speak and communicate with others.
However, the charity believes that the number of people diagnosed with aphasia could grow by around 50 per cent over the next few years, meaning some 40,000 patients could be affected by the disorder by 2025, leaving them in need of intensive speech and language therapy.
The Stroke Association's report, entitled 'Current, future and avoidable costs of stroke', outlined just how costly in terms of both money and healthcare resources an increase in people suffering strokes could turn out to be, exploring options for reducing future risk.
One way to prevent patients from struggling with aphasia or other communication problems long term is to ensure they have access to the highest standard of care and speech therapy from as soon after their stroke as possible.
Commenting on the report, Kamini Gadhok, chief executive of the UK's Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, said: "We know from our stroke survey data that stroke survivors are not receiving enough vital speech and language therapy or for long enough to help them with their communication problems."
With this in mind, healthcare providers need to make sure therapy sessions are being followed up and are ongoing for as long as they are needed, meaning more funding from the government may be needed in order to make this high standard of care sustainable over the long term.
Andrea Cail, Scotland director of the Stroke Association, added: "We need to ensure that social care and support services are able to meet the demands of a growing number of stroke survivors and that communication support services are available to the people who need this."
Written by Martin Lambert
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