Common and distinct components of communication partner training programmes in stroke, traumatic brain injury and dementia

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 2018, 53 (6), pp. 1150 - 1168
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© 2018 Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists Background: Communication partner training (CPT) programmes for health and care staff working with people with the neurologically based communication disorders associated with stroke, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and dementia are efficacious in improving communication. However, current programmes are lengthy and disorder specific, and therefore may not be suitable as staff training tools in environments with people with multiple communication disorders, and services with a variety of neurological populations. Aims: To identify common and distinct components of CPT programmes for stroke, TBI and dementia in order to determine whether there are common delivery methods and content that can be consolidated to improve implementation of CPT in health and care services. Methods & Procedures: A qualitative enquiry was used. Four CPT programmes targeting three disorders were identified from systematic reviews and literature searches. Programme data were recorded onto data sheets from manuals, study articles and supplementary materials, and were categorized using the Intervention Taxonomy (ITAX). Content analysis and elements of constant comparative analysis were employed to analyse the CPT programmes. Outcomes & Results: Delivery characteristics were similar across all four programmes. All were delivered face to face in either group or individual contexts. However, duration varied from 1 to 35 h. Six of the 12 categories of information provided were common across all programmes, including ‘strategy’ ‘background to disorder’, ‘information about communication’, ‘information about program’, ‘negative behaviours to avoid’ and ‘purpose of program’. Programmes differed in the types of skill-building techniques used, with the most common being videos (3/4 programmes), discussions (2/4 programmes) and trainer demonstrations (2/4 programmes). While strategies provided to trained partners targeted similar domains of communication, only 3/96 individual strategies were common to all programmes. Conclusions & Implications: There are both common and distinct components in content and delivery methods across CPT programmes. Further research is needed to evaluate the distinct components of the programmes, to determine which individual strategies are efficacious, and which approach to skill-building techniques is most effective. The present study has contributed a comprehensive list of programme components, which can form a basis for describing and refining CPT programmes in future.
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