The Speech Network
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Research Interests

Introducing the model of cognitive-communication competence: A model to guide evidence-based communication interventions after brain injury


Sheila MacDonald 

 Published online: 24 Oct 2017

Primary objective: Communication impairments associated with acquired brain injury (ABI) are devastating in their impact on family, community, social, academic, and vocational participation. Despite international evidence-based guidelines for communication interventions, evidence practice gaps include under identification of communication deficits, infrequent referrals, and inadequate treatment to realize functional communication outcomes. Evidence-informed communication intervention requires synthesis of abundant interdisciplinary research. This study describes the development of the model of cognitive-communication competence, a new model that summarizes a complex array of influences on communication to provide a holistic view of communication competence after ABI.

Research design: A knowledge synthesis approach was employed to integrate interdisciplinary evidence relevant to communication competence.

Methods and procedures: Development of the model included review of the incidence of communication impairments, practice guidelines, and factors relevant to communication competence guided by three key questions. This was followed by expert consultation with researchers, clinicians, and individuals with ABI.

Main outcomes and results: The resulting model comprises 7 domains, 7 competencies, and 47 factors related to communication functioning and intervention.

Conclusion: This model could bridge evidence to practice by promoting a comprehensive and consistent view of communication competence for evidence synthesis, clinical decision-making, outcome measurement, and interprofessional collaboration.


Catherine Cawley