Communication Partner Programs

Clinical Question

Does a volunteer communication program represent a beneficial investment of time and resources for people with chronic aphasia in the community and speech pathologists in Newcastle?

Critically Appraised Topic

Investing time in training volunteers can benefit people with aphasia living in the community. Informal measures suggest a strong correlation between the communication skills of the volunteer and the performance of the person with aphasia. The benefits for the person with aphasia are related to quality of life and social participation with no strong evidence for significant change in aphasia on standardised assessment. Although the studies varied greatly in terms of intensity of training and the communication partner scheme employed, the evidence suggests a positive cost-benefit ratio for the speech pathologist. The CONNECT Communication partner Scheme represents a feasible approach for speech pathologists in Newcastle in terms of cost,  resources and recruitment processes required. – PDF Format

Critically Appraised Papers

Lyon JG, Cariski D, Keisler L, Rosenbek J, Levine R,Kumpula J, et al. (1997) Communication partners: enhancing participation in life and communication for adults with aphasia in natural settings Aphasiology 11(7):693–708.

Hickey, E., Bourgeois, M., & Olswang, L. (2004). Effects of training volunteers to converse with nursing home residents with aphasia. Aphasiology. 18. 625-637.

Kagan A. Black SE. Duchan FJ. Simmons-Mackie N. Square P. (2001) Training volunteers as conversation partners using “Supported Conversation for Adults with Aphasia” (SCA): a controlled trial. Journal of Speech Language & Hearing Research. 44(3):624.38, June.

McVicker, S., Parr, S., Pound, C., & Duchan, J. (2009). The Communication Partner Scheme: A project to develop long term, low-cost access to conversation for people living with aphasia. Aphasiology. 23:1. 52-71.

Rayner H & Marshall J.(2003) Training Volunteers as conversation partners for people with aphasia. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders. 38(2):149-64 Apr-Jun.

Worrall, L., & Yiu, E. (2000). Effectiveness of functional communication therapy by volunteers for people with aphasia following stroke. Aphasiology. 14:9. 911-924.

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