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Lost in translation: exploring therapists’ experiences of providing stroke rehabilitation across a language barrier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Elizabeth Taylor, Fiona Jones

Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)N/A
Number of pages9
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue numberN/A
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2014

King's Authors


Purpose: This study sought to explore English-speaking therapists’ experiences of providing stroke rehabilitation to non-English speaking individuals in an urban area.

Methods: This was a qualitative study using focus groups. Two focus groups were conducted. Participants included physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and a psychotherapist (n = 13). A grounded theory approach was used to analyse data.

Results: Factors affecting rehabilitation were categorised under themes of engagement, practicalities and social context. Subtle communication was identified as a core category that ran through all themes, illustrating therapists’ use and interpretation of subtleties and nuances which a language barrier impeded. Providing rehabilitation across a language barrier was found to present significant challenges. Therapists perceived that assessment and treatment are likely to be delayed and limited in scope, especially regarding cognition and neurological communication disorders. A conceptual model of factors involved in rehabilitation across a language barrier was generated.

Conclusions: Therapists perceive that rehabilitation is affected by a language barrier. The conceptual model illustrates the interrelationship between factors affecting rehabilitation provision when there is a language barrier. Subtle communication was found to be an important therapeutic tool which was lost across a language barrier, and may have broader relevance to therapeutic relationships in the field of rehabilitation. Further research is needed to gain insights into experiences of individuals receiving rehabilitation across a language barrier and to identify how to enhance the efficacy of rehabilitation for them.

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