Speech-language pathologists in paediatric palliative care: a Delphi study protocol
Krikheli, L, Carey, LB, Mathisen, BA, Erickson, S & Carey-Sargeant, CL 2018, 'Speech-language pathologists in paediatric palliative care: a Delphi study protocol', BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care.
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Background: Given the dearth of literature and no clinical practice guidelines written for speech-language pathologists (SLPs) working in paediatric palliative care (PPC), a need has been identified to explore the scope of clinical practice and strategies used by SLPs.
Objective: This study aims to undertake an international investigation into the role and scope of practice of SLPs working in PPC to develop consensus-driven ‘Recommendations for Speech-Language Pathologists in Paediatric Palliative Care Teams’ (ReSP3CT).
Methods: A modified Delphi process will be used to synthesise consensus-based statements from SLPs in six different countries about their role and practice working in PPC. Initially, preliminary survey data will be collected from SLPs to obtain demographic and caseload information. Respondents will then be invited to participate in an in-depth interview to explore common and unique themes that emerge from the online survey. Participants from the interview will then ‘opt-in’ to become Delphi panel members and receive questionnaires comprising statements for agreement over multiple rounds. Statements will be based on common themes that arise from the literature review, survey and interview data. The Delphi process for each statement will stop if statements achieve ≥ 70 % agreement and an IQR of ≤ 1 (maximum of five rounds).
Conclusion: This is the first study to investigate the role and practice of SLPs in PPC across internationally accepted scope of practice areas. The study will use existing frameworks for statistical analysis and a mixed-methods approach to aid in the synthesis of statements/recommendations for international consensus.