Title

Knowledge of Palliative Care and Advance Directives among Speech-Language Pathology Students

Publication Date

7-1-2020

Document Type

Article

Department

Communicative Disorders and Sciences

Publication Title

Topics in Language Disorders

Volume

40

Issue

3

DOI

10.1097/TLD.0000000000000224

First Page

248

Last Page

263

Abstract

Palliative care is specialized medical care offered to persons with serious health conditions, with the goal to relieve or prevent pain and suffering, to manage burdensome symptoms, and to optimize as much as possible the quality of life of patients and their families (Institute of Medicine, 2015). Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are not always recognized as key members of palliative care teams and speech-language pathology students seldom receive training in palliative care. Yet, SLPs often have an influential role in ensuring that patients with cognitive-communicative and swallowing impairments have the best possible communicative access and quality of life, regardless of the severity of their diagnosis. The purpose of this study is to report on 110 speech pathology students' awareness and knowledge about palliative care concepts and of the role of SLPs in palliative care. This study utilized a participatory design approach for survey development to study student awareness and knowledge of select palliative care topics. Study results revealed SLP students' high exposure to the construct of quality of life, with notably limited knowledge of and exposure to palliative care and advance directives. Furthermore, SLP students frequently reported being familiar with a concept or term and yet were unable to explain the concept accurately. These data were analyzed and offer critical insights into curriculum design for training SLP students about palliative care.

Keywords

advance directives, awareness, hospice, knowledge, palliative care, quality of life, speech-language pathology

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