Authors: Finch E, Lethlean J, Rose T, Fleming J, Theodoros D, Cameron A, Coleman A, Copland D, McPhail SM
Title: Conversations between people with aphasia and speech pathology students via telepractice: A Phase II feasibility study
Source: International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders 2020 55(1): 43-58
Year: 2020
Research Design: Case Series

BACKGROUND: Speech pathology students can experience low confidence when communicating with people with aphasia. Communication partner training (CPT) is one method to increase confidence and skills when communicating with people with aphasia. There is a paucity of research exploring the effects of delivering CPT to students via technology, such as telepractice. AIMS: To explore the feasibility (acceptability, demand, implementation, practicality, limited efficacy) of a conversation with a person with aphasia via telepractice as part of a CPT programme with speech pathology students. A secondary aim was to explore the effects of feedback from the people with aphasia (i.e., patient feedback) on students' perceived confidence and proficiency in communicating with people with aphasia. METHODS & PROCEDURES: A Phase II feasibility study design was used, where both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. A total of 33 speech pathology students attended a lecture about the strategies used to communicate effectively with people with aphasia. They then participated in a 10-min conversation via videoconferencing with a person with aphasia 1 week later. Students were randomly allocated to patient feedback or no patient feedback conditions. They completed a custom designed questionnaire pre- and post-conversation. OUTCOMES & RESULTS: The study had a low recruitment rate but good retention. The programme was delivered as intended. Students reported that they found the conversations to be a positive but challenging experience. Post-conversation, statistically significant increases were found in students' self-rated confidence communicating with people with aphasia, proficiency at engaging in an everyday conversation and proficiency obtaining a case history (all p < 0.001). There were no significant differences for these ratings between the groups according to feedback condition (all p > 0.01). CONCLUSIONS & IMPLICATIONS: CPT involving a conversation with a person with aphasia via telepractice is feasible and can provide a valuable learning experience for students. Further research is required.

Access: Open Access