Honors Program


Date of this Version

Spring 3-8-2019

Document Type



Blusys, E. (2019). An Exploration of Techniques Used by Healthcare Providers Outside of Speech-Language Pathology in Caring for Patients with Communication Disorders. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Elena Blusys 2019.


Patient-centered communication is an effective base for the development of a trusting relationship between patients and their providers. However, when patients have various communication impairments, including hearing, language impairments, and physical impairments that make verbal communication difficult, these can complicate the transmission of information, emotions, and opinions about the patient’s care. Communication disorders encompass a large variety of conditions, and while their epidemiology has not been well-studied, their prevalence seems to be large enough that people who have them are not an insignificant portion of the population. Education on how to communicate with these patients is not frequently included in healthcare professional education. In this study, 16 healthcare providers from a variety of professions (nursing, neuropsychology, occupational and physical therapy, respiratory therapy, and physicians) in Nebraska were interviewed to gauge their comfort and knowledge in working with these patients. While the population that was interviewed was likely skewed towards a group that was especially experienced with patients who have communication disorders, the themes still indicated that there is room for improvement and that some exposure to techniques for working with communication impaired patients and greater interdisciplinary work with speech-language pathologists could be a valuable route for improving provider comfort and success in communicating with these patients.