Collaborating with consumers to enhance the communication skills of health professionals working in aged care and rehabilitation

Ms Ruth Townsend1, Ms Emma Burns1

1Austin Health, Kew, Australia

Aim: To implement a training program for allied health and nursing staff that enhances communication skills and includes opportunity to use learnt strategies and skills in face-to-face communication practice with people with communication disability.

For the past five years, speech pathologists at Austin Health have been providing the Aphasia Institute’s “Supported Conversation for Adults with Aphasia” one day training program to Latrobe University speech pathology students. The program is co-facilitated by people with aphasia who engage in conversation practice with participants to enable practical application of skills and strategies taught within the program.

Currently no regular staff training opportunities in this area exist for allied health staff working within aged care and rehabilitation at austin Health.

Methods: A series of training days (4 training days) were arranged in November 2016 and February 2017 for nursing and allied health staff to attend. Attendance of allied health staff was coordinated by the allied health clinical education lead. The Nursing Clinical Education leads recruited nursing staff. 20 staff attended each session (evenly spilt between allied health and nursing). 5 PWA (people with aphasia) co-facilitated at each training day.

Results: Staff completed pre training questionnaires via survey monkey which included evaluating pre training knowledge and skill base and a requirement to identify an example of communication breakdown experienced within the workplace with patients with communication disability and a personal development goal. Staff completed a paper based questionnaire immediately post training which included questions pertaining to how knowledge acquisition would impact on clinical practice, including specific actions relating to pre training example (utilising Austin Health’s TOTR teaching on the run professional development framework). Further evaluation via a Survey Monkey questionnaire one month post training was sent via email to staff participants.

Findings: to follow

Significance to allied health: to follow