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A qualitative evidence synthesis of the experiences and perspectives of communicating using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)

Broomfield, Katherine, Harrop, Deborah, Jones, Georgina L, Sage, Karen ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7365-5177 and Judge, Simon (2022) A qualitative evidence synthesis of the experiences and perspectives of communicating using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology. pp. 1-15. ISSN 1748-3107

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Abstract

Purpose: This paper presents a review of the existing qualitative research literature concerning people's experience of communicating using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). The aims of conducting this review were to find out more about the values and outcomes that are important to people about the AAC they use to support their communication. This review was conducted to provide a deeper understanding of these experiences to inform the development of a patient-reported outcome measure (PROM). Materials and methods: A qualitative evidence synthesis of existing qualitative research literature was undertaken to explore and appraise current knowledge about the experiences of people who use AAC. Results: From 115 qualitative research reports 19 papers were identified that responded directly to the research question and aims of the review. Data were identified that could be organized within an a priori framework consisting of the constructs of values, outcomes, and context. Conclusion: The review has resulted in a deeper, analytical understanding of the experiences of people who require AAC. The results indicate a set of concepts that can be used to inform the development of a PROM. A PROM can be used to assist clinicians and researchers to better understand the perspectives of people who require AAC and evaluate interventions. The results also encourage professionals to reconsider the terminology and methods used when working alongside people who require AAC and to reflect on the multidimensional factors that influence people's experience of communication. IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION: Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) can be useful tools to support clinician-patient communication, facilitate shared decision making and establish priorities for rehabilitation. It can be difficult to engage people who have complex communication difficulties in decisions about the important outcomes to them from using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). This qualitative evidence synthesis provides a deeper understanding of the experiences and perspectives of people who use AAC. The results will be used to inform the development of a PROM which can be used to facilitate shared decision-making, and evaluate AAC interventions from the perspective of the people who use these technologies.

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