Authors: Blom Johansson M, Carlsson M, Ostberg P, Sonnander K
Title: A multiple-case study of a family-oriented intervention practice in the early rehabilitation phase of persons with aphasia
Source: Aphasiology 2013 27(2): 201-226
Year: 2013
Research Design: Case Series

Background: Having a family member with aphasia severely affects the everyday life of the significant others, resulting in their need for support and information. Family-oriented intervention programmes typically consist of support, information, and skill training, such as communication partner training (CPT). However, because of time constraints and perceived lack of skills and routines, such programmes, especially CPT, are not common practice among speech-language pathologists (SLPs). Aims: To design and evaluate an early family-oriented intervention of persons with stroke-induced moderate to severe aphasia and their significant others in dyads. The intervention was designed to be flexible to meet the needs of each participant, to emotionally support the significant others and supply them with information needed, to include CPT that is easy to learn and conduct for SLPs, and to be able to provide CPT when the persons with aphasia still have access to SLP services. Methods & Procedures: An evaluative multiple-case study, involving three dyads, was conducted no more than 2 months after the onset of aphasia. The intervention consisted of six sessions: three sessions directed to the significant other (primarily support and information) and three to the dyad (primarily CPT). The intervention was evaluated both qualitatively and quantitatively based on video recordings of conversations and self-assessment questionnaires. Outcomes & Results: The importance of emotional support as well as information about stroke/aphasia was clearly acknowledged, especially by the significant others. All significant others perceived increased knowledge and understanding of aphasia and related issues. Communicative skills (as manifested in the video recordings) showed improvements from pre- to post-intervention. Conclusions: The results corroborate the need for individualised and flexible family-oriented SLP services that are broad in content. Furthermore, the results support the early initiation of such services with recurrent contact. The usefulness of CPT this early in the rehabilitation process was indicated but is yet to be proved.

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