To investigate current speech pathology practice regarding working with friends.
An online survey was conducted with 68 speech pathologists who worked with TBI across metropolitan and rural settings in Australia. The survey investigated the reasons speech pathologists work with friends, barriers to working with friends and perceptions of successful friendships post TBI. Descriptive statistics and content analysis of open ended responses were used to analyze the data.
There were more speech pathologists (40%) who did not include friends compared to those who did. Friends were most commonly included in the rehabilitation process, through the provision of education programs. The primary rationale for working with friends was to prevent negative psychosocial outcomes for the person with TBI. There were numerous barriers to working with friends, most commonly the inability to access friends.
Making and keeping friends are a significant part of most people's lives. Therefore, it is important to consider their role in contributing to improved outcomes for people with TBI. With communication partner training being an integral component to recovery and maintenance of relationships post TBI, the development of targeted education and training materials is warranted, to enable the inclusion of friends in the rehabilitation process.