Interaction-focused therapy for people with language impairment (aphasia) following a stroke or brain injury is routinely used by speech and language therapists in clinical practice. These types of interventions are based on research into the organisation of interactions and interactional features such as turn-taking, sequence organisation and repair, and involve both the person with aphasia and their communication partner (often a spouse). This study describes how the authors used well-known interaction focused therapy programmes (e.g. Better Conversations with Aphasia) to deliver this therapy to three couples (where one person had aphasia) over 11 weeks. The aim of the study was to examine the impact of the intervention on their conversations (coding and counting behaviours) and the quality of life - using the stroke and aphasia quality of life scale (SAQOL-39) - of the participants with aphasia. Results demonstrated significant changes in conversation but not in quality of life. The authors raise concerns around the complex nature of quality of life. Given that this intervention is so clinically useful with clients with stroke, brain injury and more recently with dementia, it is important to be able to demonstrate its impact. It has always been difficult for speech and language therapy to demonstrate the effectiveness of many of their complex interventions and in the current climate of the NHS this becomes a more pressing issue.

Interaction-focused therapy for aphasia: Effects on communication and quality of life.
Barnes S, Nickels L.
Anna Volkmer

UCL, London, UK.

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