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Tips To Communicate With Stroke Patients

What is stroke?

Stroke or “angin ahmar” is the third biggest health problem in Malaysia. Stroke can cause a person to be disabled.

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted. This can cause lack of oxygen and essential nutrients to the brain.

Strokes can happen in two ways:

  1. Blockage of the blood vessels (infarct type of stroke)

    Blood flow to the brain is interrupted due to blockage of the blood vessels. Therefore, the blood flow to the brain is reduced. Lack of blood supply to the brain lead to lack of oxygen and nutrients to part of the brain. This can cause dead brain cell at the brain region.

  2. Bleeding and ruptured blood vessels (haemorrhagic type of stroke).

    Damaged of the blood vessels and brain tissues is filled up with blood. The blood that surrounds the affected brain will give pressure to the brain tissues and can cause dead brain tissues that surround it.

    Both of these conditions may affect both comprehension and speech of a stroke patient. In addition, the body may be paralyzed and the patient’s attitude and memory may also change

Stroke and Aphasia patients

Family members / carers and public need to understand that stroke can affect communication. A person with a stroke are often associated with difficulty to talk. This problem is called as aphasia.

Aphasia often hidden their thoughts, ideas, personality and intelligence of a person, even if all these are in person. Aphasia patients may experience one or more problems either in understanding language or / and use of the language as speech and also problems in reading and writing.

Aphasia may also affect a person’s memory.

What Is The Best Way To Communicate With Stroke Patients Who Have Aphasia?

Things you can do to help those who has aphasia :

  • Reduce or eliminate noise / find a quiet place to talk. Eg closing tv / radio.
  • Get their attention before speaking and see their faces when communicating.
  • Only one person talks at a time.
  • Communicate with adult’s way rather than childish way.
  • Sitting opposite the patient.

Helping people with aphasia in understanding speech by:

  • Give one information at a time.
  • Give plenty of time for them to understand what you say.
  • Use short and simple sentences when talking to them.
  • Use slow rate of speech.
  • Use body gestures and facial expressions to help them understand the message.
  • Use writing and drawing to support what you say.
  • Use yes / no questions. For example “Would you like a coffee?” than “What would you like to drink?”

Helping people with aphasia in delivering their message / their will by:

  • Give them time to express what they feel.
  • Encourage them to use other ways to help them to communicate (body gestures, writing or drawing).
  • Look at their facial expressions and understand their facial expressions.
  • If a conversation that makes them feel frustrated, stop and talk about it back then.
  • Take a familiar picture, favorite magazines, articles or pictures they like to talk about.
  • Patiently, wait for their respond to answer a question.


  1. www.aphasia.org
  2. www.nasam.com
  3. Davis, G.A. (1999). Aphasiology: Disorder and Clinical Practice. Allyn and Bacon.
  4. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com
  5. http://www.asha.org


Last Reviewed : 28 August 2020
Writer / Translator : Fairus bt. Mukhtar
Accreditor : Nurshahira bt. Razali
Reviewer : Nadwah bt. Onwi