ICT usage in aphasia rehabilitation, Speech and Language Therapists, Barriers and Facilitators, Influencing factors, Thematic Analysis
Background: The use of digital technology is promoted as an efficient route for the delivery of intensive speech and language therapy in aphasia rehabilitation. Research has begun to explore the views of people with aphasia (PwA) in relation to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) usage in the management of aphasia but there is less consideration of the prescribers’ views, i.e. speech and language therapists (SLTs).
Aims: We aimed to explore SLTs’ views of ICT use in aphasia management and identify factors that influence their decisions to accept and integrate ICT in aphasia rehabilitation. In addition, we considered the findings in the context of the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (Venkatesh, Morris, Davis, & Davis, 2003).
Methods & Procedures: Speech and language therapists (n=15) from a range of clinical and geographical settings in the Republic of Ireland were invited to participate in one of four focus groups. Focus group discussions were facilitated by an SLT researcher, and were audio-recorded and transcribed. Analysis was completed following Braun and Clarke’s six phases of thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006).
Outcomes & Results: Four key themes were identified; i. Infrastructure, Resources and Support, ii. SLT beliefs, biases and influencers, iii. Function & Fit, and iv. ICT and Living Successfully with Aphasia. The SLTs discussed a wide range of factors that influence their decisions to introduce ICT in aphasia rehabilitation which related to the person with aphasia, the SLT, the broad rehabilitation environment and the ICT programme features. In addition, several barriers and facilitators associated with ICT-delivered aphasia rehabilitation were highlighted.
Conclusion: This research highlights a range of issues for SLTs in relation to the use of ICT in aphasia rehabilitation within an Irish context. The potential benefits of using ICT devices in rehabilitation and in functional everyday communication were discussed. However, SLTs also identified many barriers that prevent easy implementation of this mode of rehabilitation.