Experiences of communication (Christensen et al., 2023)
Purpose: Communication between people with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and rehabilitation staff can be impacted by cognitive-communication disorders. Communication partner training (CPT) programs hold potential to improve communication between people with TBI and their communication partners. To tailor CPT programs to the rehabilitation environment, it is critical to understand the nature of communicative interactions for staff members. This study explores staff and managers’ experiences of communication with people with TBI in the rehabilitation setting.
Method: Individual semistructured videoconference interviews were carried out with staff members (n = 22) and managers (n = 4) varying in terms of professions and length of work experience. Interviews were guided by a phenomenological approach to gain comprehensive knowledge of staff and managers’ lived experiences of communication with people with TBI.
Results: Four themes with nine subthemes were generated: (a) cognitive-communication disorders challenge interaction (communication is socially inappropriate, the diversity in people with TBI is demanding), (b) staff struggle in communication (there is a breakdown of communicative collaboration, communication increases staff’s workload, emotional well-being of staff is at risk), (c) communication context is crucial (tasks affect communication, extending the professional roles), and (d) staff want communication knowledge and skills (needs vary according to work experience, access to tailored strategies, and feedback).
Conclusions: Staff and managers experienced communication with people with TBI as highly demanding. The socially inappropriate communication in people with TBI was perceived to disturb the collaborative aspects of communication and create negative emotional impacts for staff. Staff experiences varied according to discipline, work experience, rehabilitation tasks, and facility. Consequently, staff and managers expressed a need for specific communication strategies to help them overcome the communicative challenges.
Supplemental Material S1. COREQ (COnsolidated criteria for REporting Qualitative research) Checklist.
Christensen, I., Power, E., Togher, L., & Norup, A. (2023). “Communication is not exactly my field, but it is still my area of work”: Staff and managers’ experiences of communication with people with traumatic brain injury. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 32(2S), 827–847. https://doi.org/10.1044/2022_AJSLP-22-00074
Publisher Note: This article is part of the Special Issue: Select Papers From the International Cognitive-Communication Disorders Conference.