Internet-based speech therapy: Improving quality of life and access to care

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is a dementia syndrome in which language disturbance (“aphasia”) is a key feature. Currently there are no effective medications to treat PPA, but limited research suggests that speech therapy may allow people with PPA to communicate more effectively throughout the duration of their illness, thereby improving mood, promoting independence and enhancing overall quality-of-life.
Unfortunately, access to speech therapy is limited since there are few clinicians who specialize in providing care for patients with dementia. Individuals with PPA wishing to receive speech therapy services from an experienced provider may need to travel far distances to specialized centers, which is not conducive to regular provision of care. One
goal of this project is to improve access to care for dementia patients by providing them Internet-based video speech therapy sessions.
Fifteen PPA patients will receive an initial evaluation, 8 speech therapy sessions and two post-treatment evaluations at 2- and 6-months post-treatment from a speech language therapist skilled in treating individuals with PPA. A user-friendly, intuitive web portal will be designed and utilized for all components of this trial: video-chat therapy
sessions, home exercises and to assess the benefits of the care. This portal will be individualized for each subject in our trial and will employ home exercises designed to include personalized material that aim to improve participants’ functional communication skills. We predict the therapy sessions will enhance the quality and functionality of the
participants’ communication and that these benefits will be maintained for at least 6 months. The results of this study will be used to make recommendations for speech and language therapists that treat PPA (and other dementia syndromes that show language symptoms) and to explore the feasibility of video-chat speech therapy, with the hopes of
modifying current insurance coverage, which does not currently cover web-based speech therapy.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date10/1/139/30/14

Funding

  • Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD Dtd 9/26/13)

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