How do speech-and-language therapists address the psychosocial well-being of people with aphasia? Results of a UK online survey:Addressing psychosocial needs following aphasia

Northcott, Sarah, Simpson, Alan, Moss, Becky, Ahmed, Nafiso and Hilari, Katerina (2017) How do speech-and-language therapists address the psychosocial well-being of people with aphasia? Results of a UK online survey:Addressing psychosocial needs following aphasia. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 52 (3). pp. 356-373. ISSN 1368-2822

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Background: The psychosocial impact of stroke and aphasia is considerable. Aims: To explore UK speech‐and‐language therapists’ (SLTs) clinical practice in addressing the psychological and social needs of people with aphasia, including their experiences of working with mental health professionals.   Methods & Procedures: A 22‐item online survey was distributed to UK SLTs via the British Aphasiology Society mailing list and Clinical Excellence Networks. Results were analysed using descriptive statistics and qualitative content analysis.    Outcomes & Results: UK SLTs (n = 124) overwhelmingly considered that addressing psychological well‐being (93%) and social participation (99%) was part of their role. To achieve this, they frequently/very frequently used supportive listening (100%) and selected holistic goals collaboratively with clients (87%), including social goals (83%). However, only 42% felt confident in addressing the psychological needs of clients. The main barriers to addressing psychosocial well‐being were time/caseload pressures (72%); feeling under‐skilled/lack of training (64%), and lack of ongoing support (61%). The main barriers to referring on to mental health professionals were that mental health professionals were perceived as under‐skilled when working with people with aphasia (44%); were difficult to access (41%); and provided only a limited service (37%). A main theme from the free‐text responses was a concern that those with aphasia, particularly more severe aphasia, received inadequate psychological support due to the stretched nature of many mental health services; mental health professionals lacking skills working with aphasia; and SLTs lacking the necessary time, training and support. The main enablers to addressing psychosocial well‐being were collaborative working between SLTs and stroke‐specialist clinical psychologists; SLTs with training in providing psychological and social therapy; and ongoing support provided by the voluntary sector.  Conclusions & Implications: The vast majority of SLTs consider the psychosocial well‐being of their clients, and work collaboratively with people with aphasia in selecting holistic goals. It is, however, of concern that most respondents felt they lacked confidence and received insufficient training to address psychological well‐being. In order to improve psychological services for this client group, there is a strong case that stroke‐specialist mental health professionals should strive to make their service truly accessible to people with even severe aphasia, which may involve working more closely with SLTs. Further, improving the skills and confidence of SLTs may be an effective way of addressing psychological distress in people with aphasia.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: sdg 3 - good health and well-being ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/good_health_and_well_being
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2020 01:31
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2023 10:30
DOI: 10.1111/1460-6984.12278

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