Giving a voice to people with chronic communication impairments: A feasibility study

Ms Michelle Sargent1, Ms Sharon Flitman1

1Peninsula Health, Frankston, Australia

Aim: The present quality activity sought to explore the benefits of social singing amongst subacute outpatients with long-term acquired speech and/or language deficits including aphasia, apraxia of speech and dysarthria.

Method: Seven participants attended a social singing group for 90 minutes per fortnightly, where they participated in warm up activities, sang songs and socialised over afternoon tea. The Stroke Aphasia Depression Questionnaire (SADQ-10) was administered at baseline and again after six sessions of the group. A participant evaluation questionnaire of satisfaction was also completed after six sessions.

Results: A large drop in total depression score was identified between baseline (41) and follow-up (20) as measured by the SADQ-10. The evaluation questionnaire revealed increased engagement and participation in activities outside the group setting. Of the participants interviewed, 92% reported enjoying the group, with 75% reporting having made new friends through the group. Many carers, clinicians and clients themselves also reported improvements in confidence, social engagement, and speech and language outcomes following participation in the music group.

Significance of Findings to Allied Health: These results support the implementation of singing groups to increase mood and quality of life for patients with chronic communication disorders. Future research is required to more rigorously test the effect of such groups with larger participant numbers.