Are you still on the fence about why we need to choose goals and speech therapy activities that matter to everyday life? Check out some research below that helps make the case! There are many reasons to choose real-life goals, toss the workbooks, close the game closets, and choose personally relevant stimuli instead!

Why does speech therapy need to be functional, meaningful, and person-centered?


TOP 10 Reasons For Making Speech Therapy Person-Centered

  1. Improve Quality: Studies show patients have a better recovery, improved self-awareness, and quicker rates of generalization with person-centered care! Isn’t this what it is all about? Patients are also more likely to adhere to treatment regiments because they have more motivation/trust in the therapy process that they had input on!
  2. Improve Person Satisfaction: It’s no surprise that with improved recovery and generalization, patients are more satisfied in formal satisfaction scores. Going forward, patient satisfaction will continue to play a large role in funding and hospital systems, so person-centered care is a way we can address this on the “front lines” in speech therapy!
  3. Add Value (save “the system” some money!): Studies show person-centered plans are less costly across the continuum of care! These patients are less likely to be readmitted, have fewer diagnostic tests and referrals, and have better emotional health at follow-up.
  4. Translate to Real Life: Workbook drills can be over structured and for this reason have not been shown to carry over to everyday life. The goal of doing therapy is about real life, so why not use real life in therapy? It’s the most efficient way!
  5. Therapist Satisfaction (That’s YOU!): *Disclaimer: There’s no evidence about this one, just my personal opinion!* In the daily grind of productivity/getting minutes/whatever it is at your site, it’s easy to have shifts in job satisfaction. With person-centered, meaningful therapy, I’ve found that at the end of the day I can list the tangible ways I’ve helped someone! It’s highly satisfying, and I no longer have to answer questions in therapy like “What does this have to do with anything?”
  6. This is the Future: This is where speech therapy is going (if you’re not there yet!): “{SLP’S} should provide value… by delivering services that improve functional outcomes that matter to clients’ everyday lives.” (ASHA, 2013, Reframing the Profession Report).
  7. Creativity: *Disclaimer: Another personal opinion!* I think everyone needs a creative outlet of some kind; I found that as I started freeing myself up to be creative to meet a unique goal through speech therapy, my creativity grew and became more natural! I love that going to work is now a creative outlet for me.
  8. Best Practice: Using patient values/input is not a new idea in EBP, but in case you wanted more specifics about how important it is for our speech therapy to be functional, check out the INCOG Guidelines (Ponsford et al. 2014):
    • *Memory: Goals should be meaningful to patient.  
      • *Executive Function: Problem Solving, Planning, Organization skills: Metacognitive strategy training during everyday activities, so individuals understand need for strategy and context it should be used  
      • *Cognitive-communication: Patient-centered goals are recommended. They should occur in functional context and provide opportunity for rehearsal to promote generalization.
  9. Insurance: Because the trend with US insurances is toward “value-based care”, we have to show how the speech therapy we do meets a real need. Some insurance companies already mandate that the documentation clearly states the functional impact of deficits and what functional improvement is expected.
  10. You will learn about amazing things! My patients have taught me about the most interesting topics, work, and hobbies–and we work on the cognitive-communication skills required uniquely for that person! I’ve worked with dog-trainers, lawyers, grocery stockers, social workers, parents, ministers, teachers, etc etc etc. They each teach me something!

Thanks for reading! Is there anything you would add to the list? If you are looking for therapy ideas to jump-start your functional therapy approach with personally-relevant stimuli, check out my Home Sweet Home and Back To Work Series! (Combo Deal right here).


References

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