Original Research

The perspectives of speech–language pathologists: Providing teletherapy to patients with speech, language and swallowing difficulties during a COVID-19 context

Zahraa Tar-Mahomed, Kelly-Ann Kater
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 69, No 2 | a902 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v69i2.902 | © 2022 Zahraa Tar-Mahomed, Kelly-Ann Kater | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 January 2022 | Published: 11 August 2022

About the author(s)

Zahraa Tar-Mahomed, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, School of Human and Community Development, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Kelly-Ann Kater, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, School of Human and Community Development, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had a huge impact on every facet of life. This directly included the delivery of health care from allied health professionals such as speech–language pathologists (SLPs) in South Africa. Research has shown that there is limited research done locally on the impact of COVID-19 relating to stroke care. Consequently, this results in a lack of research on the provision of speech, language and swallowing intervention using teletherapy after a stroke from an SLP point of view.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of SLPs with regard to their use of teletherapy in a COVID-19 context when providing speech, language and swallowing intervention for patients after a stroke.

Methods: This study made use of a qualitative approach. An electronic questionnaire was sent to SLPs inviting them to participate in the study. Purposive sampling was used to recruit participants and thematic content analysis was used to analyse the open-ended qualitative questions.

Results: The findings show that SLPs experienced a variety of facilitators and barriers to using teletherapy. Additionally, issues of access differ across the private and public sector SLPs for both the clients and the SLPs.

Conclusion: The current study provided research in the field of teletherapy, which is relatively new in the South African context. The study, whilst small in scale, provided some insight into the changes experienced from the shift to teletherapy.


Keywords

teletherapy; stroke; communication disorders; swallowing disorders; speech therapy; speech–language pathologist (SLP); stroke intervention

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Crossref Citations

1. The impact of COVID-19 on speech–language and hearing professions in low- and middle-income countries: Challenges and opportunities explored
Katijah Khoza-Shangase, Nomfundo Moroe, Joanne Neille, Anita Edwards
South African Journal of Communication Disorders  vol: 69  issue: 2  year: 2022  
doi: 10.4102/sajcd.v69i2.937