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Publication Detail
Speech and language therapy for primary progressive aphasia: Referral patterns and barriers to service provision across the UK
Abstract
Objective To assess the extent of UK speech and language therapy engagement in assessment and management of primary progressive aphasia, determine the factors contributing to any shortfall and explore a gap in the research literature on current speech and language therapy practices with people with primary progressive aphasia. Methods A 37-item, pilot-tested survey was distributed electronically via clinical networks and through the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. Survey items included questions on intervention approaches, referral numbers and demographics, referral sources and access to services. Results One hundred and five speech and language therapists completed the survey. Over the previous 24 months, respondents reported seeing a total of 353 people with primary progressive aphasia (an average of 3.27 per speech and language therapist). Neurologists were the most commonly reported referrers to speech and language therapy (22.5%). Seventy-eight percent of respondents reported that people with primary progressive aphasia experienced barriers to accessing speech and language therapy. Key barriers were a lack of referrer awareness of a speech and language therapist's role, and restrictive eligibility criteria for services. Conclusions This study highlighted inequities in access to speech and language therapy for people with primary progressive aphasia. The medical and speech and language therapy professions need to develop appropriate care pathways for people with primary progressive aphasia. Speech and language therapists have a duty to develop a relevant evidence base for speech and language interventions for people with primary progressive aphasia.
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