Current Practices Among Speech-Language Pathologists for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A Mixed-Methods Modified Delphi Approach. Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Purpose The study purpose was to capture the clinical practice patterns of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) treating mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI; concussion). Study aims were to (a) characterize expert SLP practice patterns for the management of mTBI and (b) use qualitative content analysis to explore areas of quantitative variability within participants' responses. Method Using a modified Delphi approach, SLPs completed an online survey, with Round 1 responses shaping questions for Round 2. Round 2 results were analyzed using a concurrent partially mixed-methods approach with quantitative and qualitative items. Quantitative consensus agreement levels were set prestudy at 75% agreement or higher. Topic-level items that did not reach consensus were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Participants SLPs engaging in a specialty mTBI-SLP networking group were invited to participate. Round 1 had nine participants (United States: 4, Canada: 5). Round 2 had 18 participants (United States: 12, Canada: 6), with a mean of 15.7 years of experience in mTBI (range: 3-33) and a mean of 7.6 clients with mTBI seen weekly (range: 1-25). Results Nearly all topic-level practice items met quantitative consensus (42/45). Consensus areas included using conceptual frameworks, interprofessional teaming, assessment and intervention practices, goal setting, and outcomes. Functional, collaborative, and client-centered care anchored clinical practice. Areas lacking consensus included SLP roles in mTBI mental and somatic health symptoms, specific measurement tools, and intervention dosages. Qualitative themes that emerged included limited interprofessional awareness for the role of SLPs in mTBI and challenges in measurement selection. Conclusions Study aims were met with clear consensus on clinical patterns implemented by SLPs specializing in mTBI. Results will inform both current clinical practices and future practice guidelines. High-level guidance and advocacy are needed to clarify SLP practice concerns and advance interprofessional education. Future work should address identified gaps, including targeted assessment tools and consensus on intervention methods.


  • Hardin, Kathryn Y
  • Black, Christine
  • Caldbick, Kristine
  • Kelly, Megan
  • Malhotra, Alisha
  • Tidd, Courtney
  • Vallentin, Tina
  • Turkstra, Lyn

publication date

  • July 14, 2021