The verification interview technique: Enabling the evaluation of the impact of language therapy on the quality of life of a person with severe aphasia.




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Peer reviewed



Background It is difficult to measure the impact of speech and language therapy intervention for people with aphasia. This is because the effect of communication loss and language rehabilitation is hard to capture using concise psychometric measurements. Quality of life measurement is also challenging for people severe aphasia. People with severe aphasia have difficulties understanding and producing single words. This level of language loss has resulted in people with severe aphasia being excluded from research into outcome measurement because they do not meet the minimum inclusion criteria for most aphasia investigations. Our clinical therapy trial was designed to overcome this challenge. Method This paper reports a research project that is being conducted to assess and compare the impact of two types of word finding therapy. This paper reports a single case study, and describes how outcome measurement was used to elicit the views of a person with severe aphasia. Interviews at four stages: pre therapy, at therapy change over, post therapy and at follow up were used to evaluate the impact of therapy. Ten non directive question interviews were conducted at each stage of the trial with both the person with aphasia and her husband. Interviews with the carer were transcribed and matched to interview questions using content analysis. This content was then presented to the person with severe aphasia for verification or contradiction using a range of conversation techniques including identifying topics for discussion, recapping what has been understood, visual analogue scales, adapted visual presentation of materials, writing, drawing, gesture, facial expression, pen, paper, keywords and yes/no questions. Results and Discussion Being able to represent your own views is a prerequisite of authentic quality of life measurement. This verification interview technique allowed our participant to contribute to the evaluation of her therapy allowing him to agree, disagree and qualify the propositions made by her husband. At times the technique allowed the person with aphasia to communicate novel information to the interviewer and her husband. We argue that this way of measuring outcome and the impact of therapy on quality of life will facilitate aphasia therapists to include people with all types of aphasia in their research and propose that it will contribute to the creation of an evidence base for impairment based language therapy for people with severe aphasia.



verification interview aphasia


Bixley, M., Williamson, I.R., Jin, L. and Luby, N. (2017) The verification interview technique: Enabling the evaluation of the impact of language therapy on the quality of life of a person with severe aphasia. British Aphasiology Society Therapy Symposium, 14th September 2017


Research Institute

Institute for Allied Health Sciences Research
Institute for Psychological Science