Research Reports - Training communication partners of people with severe traumatic brain injury improves everyday conversations

J Rehabil Med. 2013 Jul 9;45(7):637-45

Togher L, McDonald S, Tate R, Power E, Rietdijk R

Objective: To determine effectiveness of communication training for partners of
people with severe traumatic brain injury. Design: Three arm non-randomized
controlled trial comparing communication partner training (JOINT) with individual
treatment (TBI SOLO) and a waitlist control group with 6 month follow-up.
Participants: Forty-four outpatients with severe chronic traumatic brain injuries
were recruited. Intervention: Ten-week conversational skills treatment program
encompassing weekly group and individual sessions for both treatment groups. The
JOINT condition focused on both the partner and the person with traumatic brain
injury while the TBI SOLO condition focused on the individual with TBI only. Main
outcome measures: Primary outcomes were blind ratings of the person with
traumatic brain injury's level of participation during conversation on the
Measure of Participation in Communication Adapted Kagan scales. Results:
Communication partner training improved conversational performance relative to
training the person with traumatic brain injury alone and a waitlist control
group on the primary outcome measures. Results were maintained at six months
post-training. Conclusion: Training communication partners of people with chronic
severe traumatic brain injury was more efficacious than training the person with
traumatic brain injury alone. The Adapted Kagan scales proved to be a robust and
sensitive outcome measure for a conversational skills training program.

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