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Issued:03/10/17

A Sheffield Hallam University student has been recognised by the British Medical Association (BMA) for her work to improve care for stroke survivors with a language and communication disorder known as aphasia.

Sabrina Eltringham, a Stroke Association post-graduate research fellow in Hallam's Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, received a Special Award in the Easy Read category of the BMA's Patient Information Awards after she produced a leaflet for people with aphasia who have difficulty swallowing.

Around half of all stroke survivors have problems swallowing, making eating and drinking extremely difficult. Working with speech and language therapists from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Sabrina and the project team identified a need for information to be in a more understandable format to explain how patients with aphasia can thicken drinks to the consistency recommended by a speech and language therapist.

The team developed three leaflets, one for each of the different drinking consistencies that a speech and language therapist may recommend. Sabrina collaborated closely with Dr Caroline Haw, one of the authors of the Accessible Information Guidelines, which were developed by researchers at the University of Sheffield, and published by the Stroke Association.

Individuals with aphasia who attend the University of Sheffield's Aphasia Centre were involved in reviewing and providing feedback on the resources.

Aphasia is a condition that affects the brain and leads to problems using and understanding language properly and is often caused by a stroke or severe head injury or brain tumour.

Dr. Caroline Haw, Janet Walmsley (Aphasia Centre Lead Clinician, University of Sheffield), Sabrina Eltringham and BMA President, Professor Sir John Temple.

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Around one third of stroke survivors in the UK are living with aphasia, with many having difficulty understanding information provided about their treatment.

"We wanted to create information in a format which would support people with aphasia to be involved in decisions about their hospital treatment and their care after discharge from hospital," said Sabrina, who works as a speech and language therapist at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

"The resource is designed to be used as part of a supported conversation between a person with aphasia and a speech and language therapist and I am so proud our work has been recognised by the BMA."

For press information: Contact Sarah Duce in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 4025 or email s.duce@shu.ac.uk