Lingraphica Co-founder and Chief Scientist, Dr. Richard Steele, summarizes findings of Australian researchers from the University of Queensland’s School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences and allied Centers report outcome benefits to persons with aphasia (PWA) in the chronic stage who participated in combined group aphasia intervention and networking activities that were delivered remotely via TeleGAIN, a program that supports communication via videoconferencing technologies. The goals were to study post-participation outcome changes in three areas—remote activity participation, communication-related quality of life, and impairment-level assessments.

Researchers characterized 19 PWA diagnostically and demographically, enrolled them in TeleGAIN for 12 weeks, and assessed them before and after participation for outcome data. Outcome data were gathered using four instruments: the Assessment for Living with Aphasia (ALA), the Quality of Communication Life Scale (QCL), the Communicative Activities Checklist (COMACT), and the Comprehensive Aphasia Test (CAT). The intervention provided participants with opportunities to engage in group conversations and to complete functional communication activities. In outcome analysis, paired t-tests were used for variables that were normally distributed to probe for significant changes post-therapy, and Wilcoxson-signed rank tests were employed with variables that were not normally distributed.

Mean scores of the 19 participants improved significantly in 15 out of 21 assessed areas, ca. 71.4%. All but one of the outcome areas targeted by the ALA, the QCL, and the COMACT showed significant improvement, reflecting participants’ higher confidence levels, increased participation, greater socialization, and expanded roles.  At the impairment level, speech and language improvements in these chronic PWA were documented, though only some improvements were statistically significant.

The results show that PWA in the chronic stage can benefit from participation in a multi-purpose group intervention that is delivered using videoconferencing technologies. Socially important gains are widespread and align well with such goals as diminishing isolation and enhancing well-being.

For further reading:  R. Pitt, D. Theodoros, A. J. Hill, & T. Russell.  The impact of telerehabilitation group aphasia intervention and networking programme on communication, participation, and quality of life in people with aphasiaInternational Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, published online 10sep18.

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