Speech pathologies is a field in which speech therapists work frequently. The (increasingly widespread) application of technologies to extend rehabilitation services outside the outpatient setting - connecting the professional to the patient or different professionals to conduct assessments and treatments - is called tele.
Telepractice is a sub-domain of telehealth, which is being used by health care departments to bridge the services gap between education and adult health care settings. US Department of Health care and Human Services (XNUMX) is successfully using the telehealth services to promote health care across medical specialties and settings in a variety of configurations to achieve the optimal patient response.
There are different forms of telerehabilitation used and they include synchronous and asynchronous, remote patient monitoring and the use of apps to promote health.
A large amount of literature is available to support the use of telerehabilitation in the care of adult patients; Cochrane from 2013 are some examples which reports the effectiveness of telerehabilitation in people who have suffered a stroke, and the 2015 publication by Molini and colleagues which examined the application of telemedicine services to communication and swallowing disorders highlighting positive results, for example the cost-benefit ratio of rehabilitation and increased applicability together with patient satisfaction.
In order to expand the information available, Kristen and Joneen conducted in 2019 (and published in 2020) a systematic review of the scientific literature concerning tele-rehabilitation in services related to speech pathologies.
This review concerns the research produced from 2014 to 2019 concerning adult populations with chronic aphasia, disorders related to Parkinson's, dysphagia and primary progressive aphasia. 31 studies were selected with the following objectives:
- To examine the feasibility and efficacy of SLP services delivered via telepractice for adult populations.
- To investigate remotely delivered treatments and obtain information regarding equipment utilized for telepractice and service delivery in settings (e.g., at home, remotely between clinics).
The methodological quality of included studies was assessed via the Joanna Briggs appraisal tools, which include checklists to assess the quality of a variety of study designs in health care literature. Technical aspects of the equipment and software used to deliver services were also considered. SLPs communicated with the participants by videoconferencing using commercial software (Skype, Zoom, etc) and custom made software for research. Whereas the hardware used in this study included computers, tablets, and comprehensive teleconferencing systems.
The results of this systematic review continue to support the premise of this article, namely the appropriateness of telerehabilitation to treat speech disorders in the adult patient. The authors find evidence of efficacy and applicability of the tele-rehabilitation practice, especially in synchronous mode and videoconferencing; the services implemented remotely at the patients' homes have shown positive results probably thanks to the application in a more natural communication environment than in clinics.
In conclusion, the one described is configured as an emerging and developing field for speech therapy, but strong research projects are still needed, including the use of experimental studies to control multiple variables, to definitively determine the effectiveness of telerehabilitation services. Additionally, future research can clarify the role and impact of remote health care providers, helping them to provide better technical or practical assistance to their patients within speech rehabilitation services.
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Our materials for aphasia
All our apps can be used for free online. To use the web-apps even offline on your pc and to support our work is possible download aphasia KIT. This collection contains 5 web-apps (Write the word, Lexical comprehension, Naming of syllables, Recognize syllables and Table of syllables) to be used on a PC and more than a thousand pages of cards with activities to print, communication tables and various materials.
We have also created three large collections of activities on the PDF language divided by area:
- Building the sentences: 35 cards
- Lexicon and semantics: 150 cards
- Syllables and metaphonology: 160 entries
- Weidner, K., & Lowman, J. (2020). Telepractice for adult speech-language pathology services: a systematic review. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 5
- Laver, KE, Adey ‐ Wakeling, Z., Crotty, M., Lannin, NA, George, S., & Sherrington, C. (2020). Telerehabilitation services for stroke. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews(1).
- Regina Molini-Avejonas, D., Rondon-Melo, S., de La Higuera Amato, CA, & Samelli, AG (2015). A systematic review of the use of telehealth in speech, language and hearing sciences. Journal of telemedicine and telecare, 21