Authors: Hickey EM, Bourgeois MS, Olswang LB
Title: Effects of training volunteers to converse with nursing home residents with aphasia
Source: Aphasiology 2004 18(5-7): 625-637
Year: 2004
Research Design: Single Case Design

BACKGROUND: Nursing home residents with aphasia often experience social isolation. Providing trained conversation partners is one way to combat this problem, but evidence is needed for the effects of training conversation partners for persons with aphasia. The use of four college student volunteers was based on evidence for the benefits of intergenerational service-learning programmes. AIMS: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of training four college student volunteers (SVs) to use multi-modality communication with two nursing home residents with Broca's aphasia (RAs). Methods & Procedures: An ABA multiple baseline across subjects (SVs) and partners (RAs) design was used to examine the effects of the training programme in probe conversations. Each RA interacted with two SVs. Training consisted of five steps, with a criterion to move through each step of the programme, and to withdraw training. Thorough treatment fidelity procedures were used to ensure consistent training across subjects. OUTCOMES AND RESULTS: The SVs demonstrated marked increases in multi-modality communication, with concomitant increases in RAs' comprehensibility. Sequential analyses revealed that multi-modality communication is more likely than speech only to elicit RAs' comprehensible responses, with a stronger effect after training. Social validity ratings demonstrated that the changes in the quality of the conversations were clinically significant. CONCLUSIONS: This study revealed positive effects of training conversation partners of persons with aphasia to use multi-modality communication. Intergenerational service-learning programmes are one viable method to decrease social isolation and to increase opportunities for nursing home residents with aphasia to reveal their communicative competence.

Access: Paywall