Authors: Saldert C, Backman, Hartelius L
Title: Conversation partner training with spouses of persons with aphasia: A pilot study using a protocol to trace relevant characteristics
Source: Aphasiology 2012 27(3): 271-292
Year: 2012
Research Design: Case Series

Background: Conversation partner training can be effective in improving communication in aphasia. However, there is a need for further research about effects of specific training programmes as well as about the relevant characteristics of the conversation partners who are to be candidates for training. Aims: This pilot study explores the applicability of an adaptation of a conversation partner training programme. In addition, a protocol for assessment of variables relating to the person with aphasia and the conversation partner that may be involved in changes in conversational interaction is examined. Methods & Procedures: Three dyads with persons with aphasia and their spouses participated in this explorative study with a case-series design. The training outcome was monitored with measures of perceived functional communication and analysis of multiple video-recorded natural conversations obtained at baseline, post intervention, and at a 12-week follow-up. Repeated measures of comprehension, word fluency, and psychological well-being were obtained as well as descriptive measures of the executive function and a profiling of attitudes and behaviour in communication in the spouses. Outcomes & Results: All three persons with aphasia and two of the spouses reported a slight improvement in the measure of perceived functional communication. This perception of improvement was also reflected in blinded, independent assessments of ability to support communication in conversations for the two spouses who reported improvement. The profiling of the third spouse indicated problems in attitudes to communication and also in aspects of executive function, and may account for the lack of intervention effects seen in the third dyad. Conclusions: The results show that intervention with the adapted training programme may be effective. It might be argued that the outcome measures as well as other measures fulfil their purpose. The profiling of relevant traits in the conversation partner may be useful, although the prognostic validity of the instruments needs to be further evaluated.

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