Audit in the therapy professions: some constraints on progress.
AIMS: To ascertain views about constraints on the progress of audit experienced by members of four of the therapy professions: physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and clinical psychology. METHODS: Interviews in six health service sites with a history of audit in these professions. 62 interviews were held with members of the four professions and 60 with other personnel with relevant involvement. Five main themes emerged as the constraints on progress: resources; expertise; relations between groups; organisational structures; and overall planning of audit activities. RESULTS: Concerns about resources focused on lack of time, insufficient finance, and lack of access to appropriate systems of information technology. Insufficient expertise was identified as a major constraint on progress. Guidance on designing instruments for collection of data was the main concern, but help with writing proposals, specifying and keeping to objectives, analysing data, and writing reports was also required. Although sources of guidance were sometimes available, more commonly this was not the case. Several aspects of relations between groups were reported as constraining the progress of audit. These included support and commitment, choice of audit topics, conflicts between staff, willingness to participate and change practice, and concerns about confidentiality. Organisational structures which constrained audit included weak links between heads of professional services and managers of provider units, the inhibiting effect of change, the weakening of professional coherence when therapists were split across directorates, and the ethos of regarding audit findings as business secrets. Lack of an overall plan for audit meant that while some resources were available, others equally necessary for successful completion of projects were not. CONCLUSION: Members of four of the therapy professions identified a wide range of constraints on the progress of audit. If their commitment to audit is to be maintained these constraints require resolution. It is suggested that such expert advice, but also that these are directed towards the particular needs of the four professions. Moreover, a forum is required within which all those with a stake in therapy audit can acknowledge and resolve the different agendas which they may have in the enterprise. (+info)
Economic consequences of early inpatient discharge to community-based rehabilitation for stroke in an inner-London teaching hospital.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: In an inner-London teaching hospital, a randomized trial of "conventional" care versus early discharge to community-based therapy found no significant differences in clinical outcomes between patient groups. This report examines the economic consequences of the alternative strategies. METHODS: One hundred sixty-seven patients received the early discharge package, and 164 received conventional care. Patient utilization of health and social services was recorded over a 12-month period, and cost was determined using data from provider departments and other published sources. RESULTS: Inpatient stay after randomization was 12 days (intervention group) versus 18 days (controls) (P=0.0001). Average units of therapy per patient were as follows: physiotherapy, 22.4 (early discharge) versus 15.0 (conventional) (P=0.0006); occupational therapy, 29.0 versus 23.8 (P=0.002); speech therapy, 13. 7 versus 5.8 (P=0.0001). The early discharge group had more annual hospital physician contacts (P=0.015) and general practitioner clinic visits (P=0.019) but fewer incidences of day hospital attendance (P=0.04). Other differences in utilization were nonsignificant. Average annual costs per patient were pound sterling 6800 (early discharge) and pound sterling 7432 (conventional). The early discharge group had lower inpatient costs per patient (pound sterling 4862 [71% of total cost] versus pound sterling 6343 [85%] for controls) but higher non-inpatient costs (pound sterling 1938 [29%] versus pound sterling 1089 [15%]). Further analysis demonstrated that early discharge is unlikely to lead to financial savings; its main benefit is to release capacity for an expansion in stroke caseload. CONCLUSIONS: Overall results of this trial indicate that early discharge to community rehabilitation for stroke is cost-effective. It may provide a means of addressing the predicted increase in need for stroke care within existing hospital capacity. (+info)
Improving outcomes for persons with aphasia in advanced community-based treatment programs.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Studies have yet to document that community-based aphasia treatment programs routinely produce results comparable or superior to published research protocols. We explore this issue here in an outcome study of individuals with aphasia enrolled in 2 community-based, comparably managed and equipped therapy programs, which use a specially designed computer-based tool that is employed therapeutically in adherence to an extensive, detailed, and formally trained patient care algorithm. METHODS: Patients (n=60) were assessed before and after treatment with standardized instruments at both the impairment and the disability levels. Pretreatment and posttreatment means were calculated and compared, with statistical significance of differences established with the use of 1-tailed matched t tests. One-way ANOVAs were used to analyze the comparability of patient performance changes among various subgroups, eg, patients in acute versus chronic stages of aphasia, patients by aphasia diagnostic type at start of care, patients by severity level at start of care, and patients by treatment location. RESULTS: Analysis shows that patients spanned a wide range of aphasia diagnostic types, impairment severity levels at start of care, and times after onset. Patients' mean performance scores improved significantly in response to treatment in all measures assessed at both the impairment level and the functional communication level. Mean overall improvements ranged from 6.6% to 19.8%, with statistical significance ranging from P=0.0006 to P<0.0001. ANOVAs revealed no significant differences between improvements in patients in the acute versus chronic stages of aphasia, between those at different impairment severity levels at start of care, between those treated at different locations, or, at the functional level, between those with different diagnostic types of aphasia at start of care. CONCLUSIONS: Measures of both language impairment and functional communication can be broadly, positively, and significantly influenced by therapy services that are delivered to persons with aphasia in these community-based programs. The significant improvements are shown to be available to individuals with chronic as well as acute aphasia and independent of diagnostic type of aphasia, impairment severity at start of care, or geographic program location. (+info)
Paradoxical vocal cord motion causing stridor after thyroidectomy.
Two women developed stridor immediately after thyroidectomy as a result of paradoxical vocal cord motion. In both cases the cord function showed a normal pattern during vocalisation but paradoxical movement was seen at laryngoscopy during tidal breathing. The abnormality improved in both patients over time with speech therapy. Whilst the syndrome of paradoxical vocal cord motion is classically thought to have a largely psychological aetiology, subtle interference with laryngeal innervation at surgery is more likely to have been the cause in these cases. (+info)
Piracetam improves activated blood flow and facilitates rehabilitation of poststroke aphasic patients.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: In a prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, it was investigated whether piracetam improves language recovery in poststroke aphasia assessed by neuropsychological tests and activation PET measurement of cerebral blood flow. METHODS: Twenty-four stroke patients with aphasia were randomly allocated to 2 groups: 12 patients received 2400 mg piracetam twice daily, 12 placebo. Before and at the end of the 6-week treatment period in which both groups received intensive speech therapy, the patients were examined neuropsychologically and studied with H(2)(15)O PET at rest and during activation with a word-repetition task. Blood flow was analyzed in 14 language-activated brain regions defined on reconstructed surface views from MRI coregistered to the PET images. RESULTS: Before treatment, both groups were comparable with respect to performance in language tasks and to type and severity of aphasia. In the piracetam group, increase of activation effect was significantly higher (P:<0.05) in the left transverse temporal gyrus, left triangular part of inferior frontal gyrus, and left posterior superior temporal gyrus after the treatment period compared with the initial measures. The placebo group showed an increase of activation effect only in the left vocalization area. In the test battery, the piracetam group improved in 6 language functions, the placebo group only in 3 subtests. CONCLUSIONS: Piracetam as an adjuvant to speech therapy improves recovery of various language functions, and this effect is accompanied by a significant increase of task-related flow activation in eloquent areas of the left hemisphere. (+info)
Randomised controlled trial of community based speech and language therapy in preschool children.
OBJECTIVE: To compare routine speech and language therapy in preschool children with delayed speech and language against 12 months of "watchful waiting." DESIGN: Pragmatic randomised controlled trial. SETTING: 16 community clinics in Bristol. PARTICIPANTS: 159 preschool children with appreciable speech or language difficulties who fulfilled criteria for admission to speech and language therapy. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Four quantitative measures of speech and language, assessed at 6 and 12 months; a binary variable indicating improvement, by 12 months, on the trial entry criterion. RESULTS: Improvement in auditory comprehension was significant in favour of therapy (adjusted difference in means 4.1, 95% confidence interval 0.5 to 7.6; P=0.025). No significant differences were observed for expressive language (1.4, -2.1 to 4.8; P=0.44); phonology error rate (-4.4, -12.0 to 3.3; P=0.26); language development (0.1, -0.4 to 0.6; P=0.73); or improvement on entry criterion (odds ratio 1.3, 0.67 to 2.4; P=0.46). At the end of the trial, 70% of all children still had substantial speech and language deficits. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides little evidence for the effectiveness of speech and language therapy compared with watchful waiting over 12 months. Providers of speech and language therapy should reconsider the appropriateness, timing, nature, and intensity of such therapy in preschool children. Continued research into more specific provision to subgroups of children is also needed to identify better treatment methods. The lack of resolution of difficulties for most of the children suggests that further research is needed to identify effective ways of helping this population of children. (+info)
Reinforcement schedule thinning following treatment with functional communication training.
We evaluated four methods for increasing the practicality of functional communication training (FCT) by decreasing the frequency of reinforcement for alternative behavior. Three participants whose problem behaviors were maintained by positive reinforcement were treated successfully with FCT in which reinforcement for alternative behavior was initially delivered on fixed-ratio (FR) 1 schedules. One participant was then exposed to increasing delays to reinforcement under FR 1, a graduated fixed-interval (FI) schedule, and a graduated multiple-schedule arrangement in which signaled periods of reinforcement and extinction were alternated. Results showed that (a) increasing delays resulted in extinction of the alternative behavior, (b) the FI schedule produced undesirably high rates of the alternative behavior, and (c) the multiple schedule resulted in moderate and stable levels of the alternative behavior as the duration of the extinction component was increased. The other 2 participants were exposed to graduated mixed-schedule (unsignaled alternation between reinforcement and extinction components) and multiple-schedule (signaled alternation between reinforcement and extinction components) arrangements in which the durations of the reinforcement and extinction components were modified. Results obtained for these 2 participants indicated that the use of discriminative stimuli in the multiple schedule facilitated reinforcement schedule thinning. Upon completion of treatment, problem behavior remained low (or at zero), whereas alternative behavior was maintained as well as differentiated during a multiple-schedule arrangement consisting of a 4-min extinction period followed by a 1-min reinforcement period. (+info)
Constraint-induced therapy of chronic aphasia after stroke.
Patients with chronic aphasia were assigned randomly to a group to receive either conventional aphasia therapy or constraint-induced (CI) aphasia therapy, a new therapeutic technique requiring intense practice over a relatively short period of consecutive days. CI aphasia therapy is realized in a communicative therapeutic environment constraining patients to practice systematically speech acts with which they have difficulty. Patients in both groups received the same amount of treatment (30 to 35 hours) as 10 days of massed-practice language exercises for the CI aphasia therapy group (3 hours per day minimum; 10 patients) or over a longer period of approximately 4 weeks for the conventional therapy group (7 patients). CI aphasia therapy led to significant and pronounced improvements on several standard clinical tests, on self-ratings, and on blinded-observer ratings of the patients' communicative effectiveness in everyday life. Patients who received the control intervention failed to achieve comparable improvements. Data suggest that the language skills of patients with chronic aphasia can be improved in a short period by use of an appropriate massed-practice technique that focuses on the patients' communicative needs. (+info)