Authors: Wertz, RT, MJ Collins, D Weiss, JF Kurtzke, T Friden, RH Brookshire, J Pierce, P Holtzapple, DJ Hubbard, BE Porch, JA West, L Davis, V Matovitch, GK Morley, E Resurreccion
Title: Veterans Administration Cooperative Study on Aphasia: A Comparison of Individual and Group Treatment
Source: Journal of Speech and Hearing Research 1981 24(4): 580-594
Year: 1981
Research Design: Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: 04/10
This rating is confirmed
Eligibility specified - Y
Random allocation - Y
Concealed allocation - N
Baseline comparability - N
Blind subjects - N
Blind therapists - N
Blind assessors - Y
Adequate follow-up - Y
Intention-to-treat analysis - N
Between-group comparisons - Y
Point estimates and variability - N

Five Veterans Administration Medical Centers participated in an investigation designed to compare individual with group treatment for aphasic patients who had suffered a left hemisphere cerebral vascular accident. Patients who met selection criteria were assigned randomly to either traditional, individual, stimulus-response type treatment of specific language deficits or group therapy designed to improve communication through group interaction and discussion with no direct treatment of specific language deficits. All patients received eight hours of therapy each week beginning at four weeks postonset and continuing until 48 weeks postonset or until they dropped out of the study. A battery of language measures and a clinical neurologic evaluation were administered at intake and every 11 weeks a patient was in the study. Results show both individually and group-treated patients made significant improvement in language abilities. Individual treatment resulted in significantly better overall performance on the Porch Index of Communicative Ability; however, no significant differences were observed between groups on the other language measures. If the traditional belief is correct that significant spontaneous recovery is complete by three to six months postonset, significant improvement in both groups beyond 26 weeks postonset indicates both individual and group treatment are efficacious methods for managing aphasic patients.

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