Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice

Evaluation of communication assessment practices during the acute stages post stroke

Journal Article

Abstract

Rationale, aims and objectives  Early detection of communication impairment post stroke is an important prognostic indicator and promotes the use of individualized treatment protocols. Therefore, the methods for speech and language assessment used by communication experts in acute settings following stroke were investigated.

Methods  A survey was conducted among 254 speech and language pathologists providing acute care for patients following stroke in all states and territories across Australia and New Zealand. Respondent attitudes and practices in speech and language assessment post stroke were recorded with a standardized questionnaire collected online.

Results  A total of 174 (68.5%) speech and language pathologists responded. Over 70% of participants assessed language and 80% assessed speech using their own clinical assessments. Respondents identified limited test repeatability and poor sensitivity to change over acute periods as key areas of concern for currently available standardized assessments.

Conclusions  Subjective and/or un‐standardized assessments were the most commonly used measures of communication during the acute phases post stroke. These results highlight a critical need for the development of population‐specific communication assessments that build on existing clinician derived techniques and expertise while considering the acute time demands and transient nature of patient's communicative functioning.

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