A website about the cognitive-communication changes that occur after a right hemisphere stroke

Communication is more than the way we speak

 Communication is the thread that binds us to those that are closest to us, to our friends, neighbours, work colleagues and grandchildren.
More than half of people who have a right hemisphere stroke will have changes in their communication and often also have changes in their thinking or cognition.
Communication is more than the words and sentences that we use. We communicate through eye contact, gesture, speaking louder or softer, using our facial expressions, and even by remaining silent.
We need communication to speak, understand, read, write, express our opinion and let others know what we are thinking, feeling and intending to do next. We also need communication to understand other people’s thoughts and feelings.
We all have our own unique way of communicating and we know how to change the way in which we communicate in different situations.
Most people who have a right hemisphere stroke can still choose the right words and put these words into sentences. They can understand instructions and seem to be doing well with their communication.
It is often family members and friends who will be the first to notice that something has changed in someone’s communication.
Stroke affects everyone differently. Some people will have only mild changes while others will have a lot of change in the way they communicate.


 Rehabilitation after stroke is important to be able to get back to doing the things that are important in our lives.
Communication difficulties, even when only noticeable to the people who know us well, can have a big impact on our lives.
Physical, cognitive and communication difficulties that occur due to a stroke are reasons why people are referred for rehabilitation either during hospital admission or after returning home.
Unfortunately, some people with communication changes due to a right hemisphere stroke are not identified as needing help, and not referred to speech pathology.
One reason for this is that thinking or cognition can change after a stroke which can make it hard to recognise how things have changed. If we are not aware of difficulties then rehabilitation might not seem important and further help might be declined.
People might also miss out on rehabilitation if they seem to be doing well with their communication while at hospital. Difficulties are often only noticed when returning home or to work and starting with activities that are more complicated.
People with right hemisphere stroke are often surprised when they struggle to follow along in group conversations, loose their place when reading a novel, when friends misinterpret their intentions, when scheduling a work day, or when more time is needed to read or write work documents.
It is important to let healthcare workers know if you notice changes in the things you used to be able to do with ease.


 Not many people know about the communication changes that happen after a right hemisphere stroke.
The more friends and family know about right hemisphere stroke and how communication may change, the better they will be able to help.
After a right hemisphere stroke many things can change. Some people experience small changes while for others there are more changes that might take longer to improve.
Communication, cognition, walking, mood and vision are all things that might change after a stroke. These changes can make it hard to go back to work and the things you used to enjoy doing.

When the way in which we communicate change it can seem as if our personality is different, and this change can be hard for friends and family members to understand.

Some people talk more, others say a lot less, for some it is hard to show how they feel, while others say things that seem out of character or even rude. Many people find it hard to follow group conversations especially in a noisy place and may avoid gatherings.
It is important to remember that all of these changes came about because of the stroke and that it might take time before things get better.
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