Journal:Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine
Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):09, 32, 3, 306-317
Introduction: Outcomes research for speech language pathology (SLP) interventions for acute traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) rehabilitation in the US is difficult because of the lack of a treatment classification system (taxonomy). Objective: To describe a taxonomy developed by speech language pathologists (SLPs) to examine the effects of SLP interventions on SCI rehabilitation outcomes. Methods: The SCIRehab study uses practice-based evidence, a rigorous observational methodology that examines treatment processes without specifying or requiring specific therapeutic interventions. Speech language pathology lead clinicians and researchers at 6 US SCI centers developed a detailed SLP taxonomy documentation process that is comprehensive of SLP interventions for patients with SCI. Results: The SLP taxonomy consists of 7 intervention categories that address deficits (speech production for patients with artificial airway, motor speech and voice, swallowing, cognitive-communication, and communication) and the associated exercises and tasks that patients perform. Time is recorded for each category, and supplementary information focuses on cueing needs and family involvement that helps to describe and guide intervention selection. The SCIRehab project is enrolling 1,500 patients with acute traumatic SCI at 6 inpatient rehabilitation facilities. Conclusions: Speech language pathology taxonomy information is being captured for the SCIRehab patients who are referred for SLP services; this may be the first attempt to document the many details of the SLP rehabilitation process for patients with SCI in the US.