A comparison of client and therapist goals for people with aphasia: a qualitative exploratory study
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Background: A considerable body of literature attests to the efficacy of client and therapist collaborative goal setting to achieving optimal rehabilitation outcomes. Collaborative goal setting and shared decision making relies on good communication, thus potentially disadvantaging people with aphasia. Aims: This study aims to identify the similarities and differences between client goals and therapist goals in rehabilitation for people with aphasia and to explore reasons why any differences occur. Methods & Procedures: Three speech-language pathologists and four people with aphasia participated in in-depth semi-structured interviews to identify rehabilitation goals. All the interviews were transcribed and analysed using qualitative content analysis. Outcomes & Results: Results indicated both matching and mismatching of goals between the clients and the speech-language pathologists. Matched goals tended to focus on communication outcomes. Mismatched goals were those associated with the client's desire to return to previously valued activities. Reasons for the mismatching included: impaired communication made collaboration on goal setting difficult, the service-delivery approach, the goal was perceived to be outside the speech-language pathologist's scope of practice, and the goal was not considered to be appropriate within the confines of the rehabilitative situation. Conclusions: This study highlights the need for speech-language pathologists to understand their clients' goals and how these can be incorporated into rehabilitation. A re-examination of some professional beliefs was highlighted. Future research may lead to educational resources that enable better collaborative goal setting between therapist and client so that outcomes of rehabilitation are optimised.