Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Speech-Language Pathology

Department or School/College

Communicative Sciences and Disorders

Committee Chair

Catherine Off

Commitee Members

Jenna Griffin, Ginger Collins, Kirsten Murray


caregiver, aphasia, education, training, wellness, group treatment, phenomenological approach


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Speech Pathology and Audiology


The purpose of this study was to explore the benefits of a caregiver education, training, and wellness program to improve caregiver outcomes in the context of aphasia rehabilitation. Eight caregivers participated in one-hour group treatment sessions across four weeks as part of an intensive comprehensive aphasia program. Information about stroke and aphasia was provided in a didactic format, and facilitative communication strategies were discussed and practiced using Kolb’s (1984) experiential learning cycle model. This qualitative study adhered to Moustakas’ phenomenological approach. Participant post-treatment interviews were transcribed and coded for themes relating to their experiences throughout the treatment program. Caregivers described three major themes. The first theme related to information gained in both technical knowledge of stroke, aphasia, apraxia, neuroanatomy and physiology, and neuroplasticity in addition to applicable knowledge of facilitative communication techniques. The second theme entailed the benefits of a group service delivery model, particularly the psychosocial and educational support provided by peer group members. The final theme of “considering the future” for the caregivers included discussion of PWA progress, caregiver needs at different times, and recommended changes to the program. This study gives insight into the caregiver perspective of the benefits to participating in a caregiver group treatment program targeting educational and psychosocial outcomes.

Keywords: caregiver, aphasia, education, training, wellness, group treatment, phenomenological approach



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