Supported communication in aphasia

    Development of communication training for health care professionals

    Publication date: 01 January 2017

    The development and implementation of a communication training for professionals in health care, aiming to improve communication with people with aphasia.



    This project is a follow-up on the evidence-based guideline for speech-language therapists ‘Diagnosis and treatment of aphasia for adults’. The guideline recommends an intervention for improving communicative skills of health care professionals, who work in institutions where people with aphasia are met in daily work.


    Aphasia is one of the disorders than can follow brain injury. It is a language disorder that can have impact on the communicative ability of a person. A conversation with someone who has aphasia, often can be difficult. The quality of a conversation depends on both persons. 


    Communication is an essential part of the process of care. People with aphasia often experience difficulty communicating with professionals in health care institutions where they reside for rehabilitation. In 2001, a training has been developed in Canada: Supported Conversation for Adults with Aphasia (SCA™), to improve communication skills of conversation partners of people with aphasia. Research shows that this training is effective: compared to non-trained volunteers, conversations with trained volunteers gave better results in interaction and transaction of information. That is why in this project, this training is being adapted to the needs of persons with aphasia and health care professionals in the Netherlands.  


    In this project, SCA™ will be adapted for The Netherlands into ‘Training SC-NL’. Next, Training SC-NL will be implemented in several health care institutions like a hospital, a rehabilitation centre and a nursing home. In every institution, a team of professionals is being trained in how to communicate with persons with aphasia. Research will focus on the effect of this training on the communication between professionals and aphasia patients. Furthermore, the communicative accessibility of these institutions will be reviewed. 

    Connection to education

    The results of this study and Training SC-NL will be used in the curriculum of the Speech Language Therapy programme of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. Students will participate in graduation projects.

    Training SC-NL focuses on communication skills of health care professionals. As soon as this training is adapted to the Dutch situation, it can be offered to other programmes of our School of Health Care Studies.