June 5, 2017

Waiting for speech pathology: Device versus advice?

We have been awarded a NSW Health Translational Research Grant titled: "Waiting for speech pathology: Device versus advice?" worth over $290,000. The grant will be implemented within the Bathurst and Dubbo Health Service Speech Pathology Departments.
The investigators on the team are: Emily Davis (Bathurst), Sharynne McLeod (CSU), Katrina Rohr (Bathurst), Angela Roberts (Bathurst), Nicole McGill (CSU), and Katherine Miller (Dubbo) with additional support from Speech Pathology Australia. We are looking forward to working together over the next two years on this important project.

The official NSW Health announcement of the grant (5 June) is here and here 
 Here is the abstract:
The NSW Department of Health Clinical Excellence Commission has indicated that “access” to services is one of their major areas of complaint including “availability of specialist services such as speech pathology”. Similarly, one of three areas of concern highlighted in the 2014 Australian Government Senate Inquiry into speech pathology was “the long waiting lists in the public system”. Until availability of speech pathology services meet demand, it is important to provide appropriate care while children are waiting for speech pathology services. Over many years speech pathologists have been providing advice regarding speech and language stimulation for parents and children while waiting for direct intervention. In this information-rich age, parents also turn to the internet using devices to support their child. This study will be the first of its kind in the world to determine the effectiveness of “advice versus device” while children are waiting for speech pathology services. Stage 1 will involve developing an evidence-based parent-friendly website to support active waiting for speech intervention. Stage 2 will involve 122 3- to 5-year-old children on speech pathology waiting lists randomized to one of three conditions: (1) Advice: advice about speech and language stimulation (usual practice for waiting list), (2) Device: provision of a website to stimulate speech and language skills, (3) Therapy: speech and language therapy provided by a speech pathologist (usual practice for therapy). Speech, language, and communication participation outcomes will be measured pre- and post-intervention by an independent speech pathologist blinded to the condition. Parent concern and engagement during each condition will be measured. The outcome of this study will inform speech pathology practice regarding appropriate care while waiting for speech pathology services, and the extent of gains that may be anticipated under each condition (device, advice, therapy). If the outcomes are positive, the website and speech pathology advice packages will be freely available to families across NSW.
A previous blog post showing us working on the grant application is here.
Sharynne, Katrina Rohr, Emily Davis at Bathurst Community Health
Mary Gornik (Speech Pathology Australia) with Nicole McGill, Sharynne, and Ronelle Hutchinson (SPA)