Complex Communication Needs in Inpatient Rehabilitation: Perspectives from SLPs

Jessica Gormley


Gormley, J. & Light, J. (2017, November). Complex communication needs in inpatient rehabilitation: Perspectives from online focus groups of SLPs. Poster presentation at the Annual Conference of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA), Los Angeles, CA.


Gormley_& Light (2017) AAC and Inpatient Rehab Handout

Abstract: This study discusses the findings from an online focus group of SLPs who work in the inpatient rehabilitation setting and provide clinical services to individuals with complex communication needs (CCN). Results examine the current practices, challenges, and successes that SLPs face when providing clinical services to individuals with CCN in the inpatient rehabilitation setting. Clinical implications as well as future research and training directions will be also be discussed.

Key Findings

AAC services may be a valuable tool to positively impact the rehabilitation experience of individuals with CCN

• Training is necessary to build communicative competence; however, time and resources may present unique challenges for AAC service delivery in the inpatient rehabilitation setting

• Potential solutions: Use of electronic orders, bedside postings, and face-to-face communication trainings

Consistent team collaboration and communication was reported as integral to supporting individuals with CCN with in the inpatient rehabilitation setting

• Potential techniques: Interdisciplinary co-treatments, family and patient involvement in care, use of self-reflection and active listening techniques, and professionals can increase AAC skills through seeking out training on AAC topics or from AAC specialists, if available

Integration of AAC and inpatient rehabilitation specific topics into pre- and in-service trainings for rehab professionals may help to strengthen skills and empower leadership among rehabilitation professionals


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