The internet has become a major source for health information, with many people preferring to use the internet to search for advice than speaking to health professionals. Yet much of the information available is very difficult to read for the average service user, and even more difficult for a person with a communication disorder, such as aphasia. This paper describes a study which aimed to assess the quality and readability of internet information on aphasia treatments. Key words, selected by people with aphasia, were used to search Google across Australia, Canada, India, the UK and America. Sites that met the inclusion criteria were then examined using two quality measures and three readability measures. Forty-three sites were identified from non-profit organisations, commercial and government sites. Results demonstrated that an average adult would require 13-16 years of education to understand the content of most of the websites, which is higher than the average education levels in the US (approximately age 13) and required reading levels were higher on non-profit organisation websites. Given the current review of the Mental Capacity Bill, and the emphasis on provision of information to enable people to make decisions about their own healthcare, accessible information is key to this process for both people with communication difficulties and those without who may support them. This review should serve as an urgent warning to organisations to reconsider the accessibility of the information they make available on the internet to ensure it is inclusive, and that people can actually understand what is there.

Quality and readability of English-language internet information for aphasia.
Azios JH, Bellon-Harn M, Dockens AL, Manchaiah V.
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Anna Volkmer

UCL, London, UK.

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