Authors: Worrall L, Yiu E
Title: Effectiveness of functional communication therapy by volunteers for people with aphasia following stroke
Source: Aphasiology 2000 14(9): 911-924
Year: 2000
Research Design: Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: 03/10
This rating is confirmed
Eligibility specified - Y
Random allocation - Y
Concealed allocation - N
Baseline comparability - N
Blind subjects - N
Blind therapists - N
Blind assessors - N
Adequate follow-up - N
Intention-to-treat analysis - N
Between-group comparisons - Y
Point estimates and variability - Y

The aim of this study was to develop and evaluate a scripted modular intervention programme called Speaking Out. Speaking Out is administered by trained volunteers in the home and focuses on the everyday communicative activities of aphasic stroke patients. The experimental design used repeated measures to examine the effect of counterbalanced treatments across individual subjects and across two matched groups. One group improved significantly on the Western Aphasia Battery (WAB) after the Speaking Out programme but there were no significant differences on any of the functional communication measures. Some change to health status scales was however found. There was a significant difference on both the WAB and the ASHA Functional Assessment of Communication Skills (ASHA FACS) for the other group following the Speaking Out programme. They also demonstrated some positive changes on the health status scales following the programme. There were more significant differences on intragroup comparisons than intergroup comparisons. For group 2, the ASHA FACS and the SF-36 showed significant differences between the Speaking Out programme and the recreational programme or no treatment at all. It was concluded that long standing aphasic speakers may benefit from a 10 week functional communication therapy programme delivered by trained volunteers.

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