Improving communication access in psychoeducational interventions for people with complex communication needs: a scoping review and stakeholder consultation

Eleanor Watson, Pammi Raghavendra, Sharon Lawn, Joanne Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose
Psychoeducational interventions are commonly used to improve mental health among the general population; however, their application among people with complex communication needs is under explored. This scoping review aims to identify the psychoeducational interventions utilised with people with complex communication needs, any adaptations to improve communication access, and outcomes for this population.

Materials and methods
The scoping review was conducted using the Arksey and O’Malley guidelines and included stakeholder consultations. A systematic search of the literature was conducted. Stakeholder consultations were conducted via semi-structured interviews with informants from three populations: people with complex communication needs, everyday communication partners and mental health workers.

Results
The search yielded 2112 articles. Twenty-four articles were retained for data extraction. Numerical analysis provided an overview of the existing literature. Thematic analysis highlighted the range of communication access strategies applied within psychoeducational interventions. Common aims and outcomes of interventions occurred across three interrelated themes: education, symptom reduction, and improved coping and wellbeing. Stakeholder consultations enabled contextualisation of literature.

Conclusions
People with complex communication needs may benefit from psychoeducational interventions when effective, personalised communication access strategies are employed. Future research should include lived-experience perspectives to ensure the relevance of communication access strategies in mental health support.

Implications for rehabilitation
This scoping review adds to the evidence base supporting equitable access to mental health support for people with complex communication needs.

A range of specific strategies are presented for mental health workers to consider when working with people with complex communication needs.

Positive behaviour support (PBS) practitioners must be equipped to address the psychoeducational and mental health support requirements of people with complex communication needs.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Early online date29 Sep 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Sep 2022

Keywords

  • Stakeholders
  • communication access
  • complex communication needs
  • mental health
  • psychoeducation
  • scoping review

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