Authors: Hall Z, Elbourn E, Togher L, Carragher M
Title: Co-constructed communication therapy for individuals with acquired brain injury: A systematic review
Source: International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders 2024 59(2): 496-518
Year: 2024
Research Design: Systematic Review

BACKGROUND: Meaningful, varied, joyful conversation is an important therapy target for adults with language or cognitive-communication disorders following acquired brain injury (ABI). However, the complexity of daily communication is often reduced to component parts within intervention programmes, with mixed evidence of generalization to everyday conversation. Interventions targeting co-construction of communication within a dyad offer a structured way in which to retain and treat elements of everyday conversation for individuals and their communication partner (CP). Such interventions exist but they are variably labelled, target different ABI populations and have not been synthesized. AIMS: To identify the nature, scope and effects of intervention studies targeting co-constructed communication in adults with ABI. METHOD: This systematic review was completed using PRISMA Guidelines. Six databases (MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, Scopus, LLBA, PsychInfo) were searched and 1210 studies were screened. Data were extracted and studies were rated for methodological quality and completeness of reporting. Outcome measures and effects of treatment were collated through descriptive synthesis. MAIN CONTRIBUTION: This review highlights an emerging evidence base in relation to an intervention approach that targets everyday communication. Co-constructed communication interventions have been reported by 13 studies, from a total of 206 participants with post-stroke aphasia, traumatic brain injury and progressive language impairments. These interventions take a range of formats, including referential communication tasks, retell/recount therapies and communication training programmes. Methodological quality evaluation indicated mostly low-level study designs. Heterogeneity was identified in primary outcome measures, with 28 unique primary outcome measures reported across studies. Most studies demonstrated change in task-specific or broad communication outcome measures. CONCLUSIONS: Co-constructed communication interventions may offer clinicians a systematic, protocolized, replicable way to target everyday communication for adults with ABI. More high-quality, experimental designs with complete reporting and psychometrically sound outcome measures are needed to strengthen the evidence base.

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