Adapting TBI Express communication partner training for leaders of a community peer support group for adults with acquired brain injury (ABI): is it feasible, acceptable and potentially effective?

About the Project

Project aims and objective:

Communication difficulties are a common and persisting consequence of Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). People with communication impairment following ABI are a vulnerable cohort and are highly susceptible to social exclusion, isolation and poor quality of life, particularly in the community context. Broadly, my project aims to enable significant people to accept and allow a person with communication impairment following ABI to participate in their community. Specifically, my project will examine the effectiveness of delivering an evidence based communication partner training (CPT) program (TBI Express, by Prof Togher, et al) in the context of a state-wide community support group for adults with ABI in Queensland, called STEPS (Skills To Enable People and communities).

Data from the project will be used to inform further communication partner training contexts (health and non-health), contribute to evidence based practice guidelines for ABI, be embedded into ongoing STEPS Leaders training programs and be translated into clinical practice of Speech Pathology teams within the Division of Rehabilitation, PAH.


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Project significance:

While there is a growing body of evidence to support the use of CPT with family members (Togher et al., 2002), health professionals (Behn et al.,2012; Cameron et al., 2016), students (Legg et al., 2005), people with developmental disabilities (Bloomberg et al., 2003) and police officers (Togher L, et al., 2002), there is currently a lack of evidence into the use of CPT with community-based support groups for people with ABI. The current project will explore the effectiveness and feasibility of delivering CPT to STEPS program Leaders.  Significantly, the Leaders of each STEPS group consists of a 'peer' leader who co-leads with a local service provider, therefore achieving valuable consumer engagement.  Additionally, approximately 300 people with ABI and their families have participated in a STEPS Program in metropolitan, rural and regional areas of Qld in the last 2 years alone.  The extensive reach that this community support program for adults with ABI has across Qld cannot be underestimated, hence the STEPS Leaders require evidence based communication training in order to achieve the inclusion and connection that people with ABI deserve in their local community.

Project Status:

The project commenced in 2018 and is currently focused on disseminating the project report and liaison with special interest group across the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service continuum.

The research team has updated and integrated Communication Partner Training content (based on TBI Express) into all STEPS Leader training content and has a growing appreciation for the importance of effective communication in the ABI population.

Project Funding:

This project is funded by a Hopkins Centre Seed Grant and the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC).

The project is proudly supported by Griffith University; the Division of Rehabilitation at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Metro South Hospital and Health Service; University of Technology Sydney; The University of Sydney; and The University of Queensland.

Research Team: 

Clare Morgan, Division of Rehabilitation, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Metro South Hospital and Health Service 

Emma Power, University of Technology Sydney, Graduate School of Health, NSW, Australia; and Faculty of Health and Medicine, Brain and Mind Centre, The University of Sydney, NSW, Australia

Emma Finch, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland; Speech Pathology Department, Princess Alexandra Hospital; and Centre for Functioning and Health Research, Metro South Hospital and Health Service

Elizabeth Kendall, The Hopkins Centre, Griffith University 

Leanne Togher, Faculty of Health and Medicine, Brain and Mind Centre, The University of Sydney, NSW, Australia

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