Aphasia is a communication disability caused by stroke, brain injury or dementia. People with aphasia benefit from both the emotional and communication support that group therapy can provide, yet there can be many barriers to accessing this type of intervention, including funding difficulties, geographical isolation and mobility and transport issues. Tele-rehab has the potential to improve access to speech and language therapy and group therapy. This paper describes the development, of such a group aphasia therapy treatment delivered via tele-rehab, and piloting to determine feasibility and acceptability for a future full trial. The development of the programme follows the Medical Research Council guidelines for complex interventions and includes a literature review and consultation with experienced SLTs prior to development of a draft version of the TeleGAIN programme and consideration of the ideal delivery methods. The paper describes a pilot study with four participants with aphasia, who participated in TeleGain over 12 1.5-hour weekly therapy sessions. Each therapy session covered a different conversational topic and a range of different therapy activities was made available for the therapist to choose from according to participants needs. The pilot study results demonstrated some difficulties in using technology associated with delivery of the therapy, but these were easily resolved with support from family members or the speech and language therapist. Attendance and satisfaction were high, and pre-post comparison on language subtests demonstrated some improvements. Group therapy provides the opportunity to deliver interventions to more service users, and tele-rehab can improve access to healthcare, as well as reducing costs associated with rooms and resources. It is likely that tele-rehab interventions will become more popular, and demonstrating their effectiveness is vital to ensuring they are actually useful. This study indicates that TeleGAIN is an acceptable and feasible intervention that can now progress to a full trial in order to test its effectiveness.

The development and feasibility of an online aphasia group intervention and networking program – TeleGAIN.
Pitt R, Theodoros D, Hill AJ, Russell T.
Share This
Anna Volkmer

UCL, London, UK.

View Full Profile