Background: Providing appropriate and effective information to people with stroke and their families has been identified as a key component to successful practice. Researchers continue to focus on "lack of information" as being the lack of specific technical medical information rather than the communication of practical knowledge and how people use that knowledge to restructure life after stroke. To meet patients' expectations and achieve better outcomes in stroke, professionals need access to communication theory, research, and training.
Objectives: Improve stroke communication systematically.
Method: This article will examine stroke communication using a three-part framework: 1. Utilize theory to clearly conceptualize how communication influences stroke outcome. 2. Identify components and mechanisms of communication content to positively influence stroke outcome. 3. Develop goals and strategies for putting content skills into stroke communication practice.
Conclusion: Relatively little is known about the content and structure of informal communication transactions between stroke survivors, families, and health care professionals and how they accommodate (or resist) realignment of identity after stroke. The professional discourse attempts to ensure realistic expectations of recovery whereas stroke survivors and families complain about the negative discourses, how possibilities for life after stroke are presented, and the hopelessness that this creates. More research is required into how these different discourses affect outcomes.