Comparison of traditional and telepractice-based treatment in the management of stroke-related aphasia
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There is a growing need for an alternative rehabilitation service delivery model to limit barriers to healthcare access for individuals with stroke based aphasia. Individuals with a history of stroke who reside in rural areas may face challenges in timely and regular access to rehabilitative healthcare services necessary to maximize recovery potential. The emergence of telepractice as a paradigm for remotely delivering speech-language rehabilitative services has the potential to provide increased access to healthcare services for individuals with stroke-related aphasia at a cost-effective rate. This study examined pre-post treatment assessment data from a nonprofit private clinic that provides speech and language services for individuals with aphasia in-house and via telepractice. Pre-post treatment scores on formal and informal language measures from 14 participants with stroke-related aphasia who received individualized therapy over a 12-month period (N = 7 face-to-face, N = 7 telepractice), were compared. The conventional face-to-face treatment group and the telepractice group did not show significant improvement post-treatment and there was no significant difference in improvement between the two groups. The results suggest that while both groups did not significantly improve on language measures following treatment, treatment outcomes were comparable across service delivery modes. These results provide preliminary support for the use of telepractice to delivery treatment to individuals with stroke-related aphasia in a real-world clinical setting. Results also provide further support for telepractice as an efficacious mode of treatment delivery for this population.