Category: Cross-Cutting; Quality Improvement and Implementation Science; Clinical Practice (assessment, diagnosis, treatment, knowledge translation/EBP, implementation science, program development)
Objective : To investigate the effectiveness of a 10-month interdisciplinary communication partner training curriculum to educate rehabilitation clinicians on topics of communication disorders and communication support skills, and progress them to become communication strategy mentors to their colleagues.
Design : Pilot 10-month study that collected quantitative and qualitative data about the effectiveness of a novel communication partner training program. The curriculum included one month of self-guided pre-work, 4 didactic and collaborative in-person meetings with required assignments in the intervening months, and a 5th meeting at month 10 as a Focus Group to gather participant feedback on specific program elements.
Setting : Multi-level rehabilitation and research hospital that provides inpatient, outpatient and Day Rehabiliation services.
Participants (or Animals, Specimens, Cadavers) : Participants were Allied Health clinicians (n=4) from all levels of care (inpatient, outpatient, and Day Rehab) and represented all clinical disciplines (Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech-Language Pathology).
Interventions : The intervention was an iterative communication partner training. Training was developed and delivered by two speech-language pathologists who are certified trainers for Supportive Communication for Adults with Aphasia. In-person meetings included didactic presentations, collaborative problem solving, and guided role plays. Participants then completed assignments to solidify knowledge in intervening months which included: a log of how they practiced communication support strategies with their patients, a case study presentation to their teammates, and a log of mentorship opportunities with colleagues.
Main Outcome Measure(s) : Quantitative survey data was collected from participant clinicians at baseline and at each key training point (7 surveys total) to measure perceived changes in knowledge, confidence and experience with communication disorders and communication support strategies as the program progressed. Qualitative feedback collected at conclusion of the program via a Focus Group.
Results : Survey data indicated that participant knowledge, experience and confidence with communication support strategies increased across disciplines and across care settings as the program progressed. The greatest change occurred between baseline and Meeting 3, and then generally maintained across participants. Participants perceived benefit from the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of the group.
Conclusions : This pilot 10-month communication partner training program increased Allied Health clinicians' knowledge of communication disorders and communication support strategies, and their experience and confidence with using these strategies to better support effective patient communication.
Elissa Larkin Conlon– Speech-Language Pathologist, Center for Aphasia Research & Treatment, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, Chicago, Illinois
Leora Cherney– Coleman Foundation Chair and Scientific Chair, Think and Speak Lab, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, Chicago, Illinois
Edna Babbitt– Research Speech-Language Pathologist, Center for Aphasia Research & Treatment, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, Chicago, Illinois