Transitioning from Face-to-Face to Telehealth Speech and Language Services Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Perceptions of Persons with Aphasia and their eHelpers
Master of Science (M.S.)
Degree Granting Department
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Alexandra Brandimore, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Nathan Maxfield, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Adithya Chandregowda, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Treatment Modality, Coronavirus, Communication Disorder, Caregivers
The purpose of this research study was to investigate the perceptions of the aphasia community, as well as their caregivers, that are provided speech and language services and how their services were affected due to transitions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The recency and novelty of the pandemic warrants research of many areas related to health care, including that of speech language pathology.
An online survey was completed by nine persons with aphasia and three eHelpers. Participants were recruited through a university clinic and by informational fliers through social media. Participants with aphasia qualified by having experiences with speech and language treatment in a face-to-face format prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and having recent experience of treatment via telehealth due to transitions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey included questions that compared both face-to-face and telehealth services through the forms of rating scales, multiple responses questions, and free response questions.
Median results for overall feeling of safety during treatment was higher for telehealth compared to face-to-face at a statistically significant level. Additionally, median results for comprehensibility during treatment sessions was higher for face-to-face treatment as opposed to telehealth at a statistically significant level. All other areas of questioning for participants with aphasia did not result in statistically significant effects and were perceived similarly when comparing between face-to-face versus telehealth.
Through the use of free response questions, trends were analyzed among responses of both participants with aphasia and their eHelpers. Benefits for telehealth treatment included convenience and continuation of services, however, barriers included technology issues and less socialization with others. Benefits of face-to-face treatment varied among individuals but included ideas such as more personalized care. A barrier to face-to-face treatment included that of transportation difficulties.
Participants were able to acknowledge both benefits and barriers to both treatment modalities as well as compare them directly. Ultimately, despite face-to-face being slightly more favorable when compared to telehealth, participants expressed interest in continuing the use of telehealth with a hybrid approach to treatment. This information can be applied clinically as speech language pathologists navigate telehealth as a treatment modality for their patients during a time of advancing technology and restrictions due to a pandemic. This could be done by continuing research focusing on a hybrid approach to treatment, incorporating telehealth as an option for patients that may benefit from it, and bringing patient-centered care from the clinic into the world of telehealth. This study adds to the limited body of literature that exists regarding the effects of COVID-19 with abrupt suspension and transitions of services on the population of persons with aphasia and their eHelpers.
Scholar Commons Citation
Logan, Emma, "Transitioning from Face-to-Face to Telehealth Speech and Language Services Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Perceptions of Persons with Aphasia and their eHelpers" (2022). USF Tampa Graduate Theses and Dissertations.