Use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) by Speech-Language Pathologists and other Allied Health Professionals in Palliative and End-of-life Care: An Exploratory Scoping Review Report uri icon


  • Purpose: This project sought to explore the utilisation and effectiveness of alternative and augmentative communication by speech-language pathologists and other health professionals among patients in palliative care (PC) or end-of-life care (EOLC). Method: An exploratory scoping review was conducted aiming to discover key literature, research, approaches and results pertaining to the topic of AAC, SLPs, health practitioners, PC and EOLC. Result: A total of 817 articles were retrieved, however only nine (n = 9) literature reviews were found of relevance to the specific research. Conclusion: The literature identified that SLPs and health practitioners do utilise AAC in palliative and EOLC, however the main focus of the articles related to evaluating the significance and effectiveness of AAC in these settings. Due to the lack of explicit information regarding the utilisation of AAC by SLPs and other health professionals in EOLC settings, conclusions across the relevant literature were found to be similar. That is, AAC strategies were beneficial for patients in EOLC throughout the disease trajectory. AAC was found to increase patient quality of life, as patients were able to communicate their needs and wants to their loved ones and the health-care team. It is strongly recommended that future SLPs and other health practitioners gain appropriate exposure, experience and knowledge regarding AAC, in order to ensure patients and their families are aware of the various options that provide a smoother transition towards EOL.

publication date

  • 2017