An investigation of a Community Aphasia Group for living well with Aphasia

Project description

This research seeks to compare the effects of a speech pathologist- and social worker-led community aphasia group, developed following an extensive literature review. People with aphasia and their family members are allocated to one of three community aphasia groups.

Funding body

Australian Research Council (FT100100446 Associate Professor Miranda Rose).

Aims

To investigate the comparative effectiveness of three models of community aphasia groups for:

  • participants with aphasia
  • family members of participants with aphasia.

Participants with aphasia

The outcomes will be associated with each domain of the World Health Organisation International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health, quality of life, and participant feedback of program experience.

Family members of participants with aphasia

The study will assess: caregiving outcomes, psychological health, supported conversation skill, and participant feedback of program experience.

Dr Miranda Rose discusses research on developing effective treatments for aphasia.

Dr Miranda Rose

Design and method

The project uses a Phase I three-arm parallel group non-randomised controlled trial within a superiority framework. The participants are drawn from two populations:

  1. people with aphasia who have had a stroke, and
  2. family members of people with aphasia.

Participants attend one of three community aphasia groups:

  • a multi-disciplinary community aphasia group (MD-CAG)
  • an SLP-led community aphasia group (SLP-CAG), or
  • a volunteer- and peer- co-facilitated community aphasia group (VP-CAG).

Twenty-four participants with aphasia will undergo assessment and be divided across the 3 groups. Twenty-four family members (one per person with aphasia) will undergo assessment, selected family members will be invited to participate in sessions across 2 of the 3 groups (Group 1—family participation required: n = 8; Group 3—family participation optional: n = 8). 48 participants will be recruited in total.

The groups will run once a week for 2 hours across 12 weeks. The three groups will differ in terms of the group programing, staffing, presence of family, and considerations such as attention to individual goals and group process.

Benefits

It is expected that the people with aphasia and family members attending group sessions will make gains in at least one area of outcome measurement by the end of group participation, regardless of group type, with the potential for ongoing maintenance of gains.

Participants will share their perceptions and evaluate the CAG experience, allowing for an "insider" perspective to shape the development of future CAGs.

It is critical that community aphasia groups be informed by evidence-based practice in order to optimise service provision in the context of highly limited resources. The use of comparison groups in the present research is relatively novel in the field, and will contribute to more conclusive findings regarding the effects of particular community aphasia groups compared to others.

Over the long term, this will enable excellent and targeted CAG models to be defined, developed, and proliferated. There is also strong potential for developing clear and systematic guidelines about this form of long-term aphasia management.

The use of effective community aphasia groups for chronic aphasia is likely to contribute to improved health outcomes and a reduction in the societal burden of care associated with aphasia.

Project members

  • Associate Professor Miranda Rose (La Trobe University)
  • Professor Leanne Togher (The University of Sydney)
  • Professor Jacinta Douglas (La Trobe University)

Status

Current

Date commenced

5/2/13

Expected date of completion

5/2/17