ICAP-lite - A student led intensive aphasia programme using telehealth

Dougan, Jemma and Egan, Aisling and Hay, Elsie and McCarney, Sinéad and Kuschmann, Anja (2021) ICAP-lite - A student led intensive aphasia programme using telehealth. In: Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists Conference, 2021-10-05 - 2021-10-07, Virtual.

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Introduction: The ongoing pandemic has considerable impact on SLT service delivery. As a result, fewer clinical placement offers were made to SLT undergraduate programmes in the academic year 2020/21. Innovative ways of providing placement experiences were required. Our SLT programme created a remotely-delivered, modified Intensive Comprehensive Aphasia Programme (ICAP-lite) in collaboration with ‘Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland’ (CHSS). Aim: The aim of the project was to enable second and third year SLT pre-registration students to gain essential clinical experience by developing and delivering an intensive treatment programme for people with aphasia in the chronic stage of recovery. Outline of evidence used: A growing body of evidence indicates that ICAPs can facilitate improvements in language function and wellbeing of participants with aphasia (Babbitt, Worrall & Cherney, 2021; Griffin-Musick, Off, Milman, Kincheloe, & Kozlowski, 2020; Hoover, Caplan, Waters, & Carney, 2017). Telehealth has also been found to be a viable option for the delivery of aphasia assessment and treatment (Hall, Boisvert, & Steele, 2013), and for SLT student practice-based learning (Finch et al., 2020). The COVID 19 pandemic necessitated an innovative combination of these strands of evidence to the mutual benefit of students and people with aphasia. Implementation: Ten individuals with chronic aphasia were selected for the ICAP-lite following referral to the programme by CHSS and subsequent student triage. Delivery occurred via Zoom over four weeks, for 2 days each week. The programme was developed and led by two third year SLT students and supported by six of their peers. Thirty-eight second year students were also involved in the delivery. All students were supervised by two university-based SLTs. Functional language measures were taken pre- and post- treatment. This included a language screening tool developed by the students to assess the participants’ auditory comprehension, verbal expression, reading and writing via Zoom. Personalised goal setting was also conducted with participants prior to the programme commencing. Third year students were responsible for planning intervention for their allocated client, and they developed and administered small group therapy tasks too. The ICAP-lite involved each participant being provided with: •at least one individual therapy session per week •several small group impairment-based therapy sessions per week •two whole group sessions with a focus on functional communication per week •small group sessions promoting self-management and peer support Summary of main outcomes: The students successfully delivered the ICAP. In total, 406 placement sessions were provided to 45 students. All but one student met the learning outcomes that were assessed as part of the ICAP-lite. Conclusion: The successful delivery of the ICAP-lite is evidence that telehealth aphasia programmes can be a viable option for students to gain essential clinical experience as part of their training. Implications and future directions: Online aphasia programmes have the potential to grow placement capacity. The authors plan to build on this in the future to make 'online clinics' an integral part of students’ practice-based learning.