A systematic review of interventions for adults with social communication impairments due to an acquired brain injury: Significant other reports

Leah Paice, Annalle Aleligay, Martin Checklin
International Journal of Speech-language Pathology 2020 March 5, : 1-12
Purpose : To determine the most effective intervention for adults with social communication impairments due to an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI), using standardised outcome measures completed by significant others. Method : A systematic literature review was conducted. Four electronic databases relevant to the field of speech-language pathology or brain injury were searched: Medline, CINAHL, AMED and Embase. Grey literature, reference lists and citation indexes were also hand searched for additional research. Studies that met the broad inclusion and exclusion criteria were initially screened to determine articles for full text reviews by two independent reviewers. Reviewers independently extracted data from full-text reviews using a data extraction form and performed bias analysis using the Downs and Black quality checklist (Downs, S.H., & Black, N. (1998). The feasibility of creating a checklist for the assessment of the methodological quality both of randomised and non-randomised studies of health care interventions. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 52, 377-384.). Studies were categorised using a five-phase model of evidence (Robey, R.R., & Schultz, M.C. (1998). A model for conducting clinical-outcome research: An adaptation of the standard protocol for use in aphasiology. Aphasiology, 12, 787-810.). Result : 681 articles were identified after duplicates were removed. 15 articles were reviewed for full-text analysis. Six studies were ultimately included in the review. Of these, three were randomised controlled trials and three others were not. Four studies delivered intervention solely to the individual with an ABI, one to the communication partner only, and one delivered intervention both to the individual and their communication partner. Intervention programmes ranged from four to 12 weeks and from 12 to 48 hours total contact time. The reviews studies were heterogeneous, which made comparisons difficult. Risk of bias was also present to varying degrees in all studies. The current level of evidence has focussed on efficacy of treatments and effectiveness of treatment is not yet established. Conclusion : The current level of evidence is not yet established to make clear clinical guidelines on which interventions are most effective, based on significant others' reports. Further research is required, incorporating more rigorous study designs and larger sample sizes to enable accurate conclusions to be drawn.

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