Speech Thoughts Uncategorized

Person Centered Care (PCC)

Three words that make so much sense it’s a wonder they’ve take this much time to become part of the main street conversation in speech therapy. Having completed an online course by Sarah Baar at it’s clear Person Centered Care will be a centerpiece of neurogenic disorders therapy moving forward. Sarah Baar is both an authority and advocate for PCC and her work presents  a passion and a sense of inevitability with respect to the direction neurogenic disorders therapy must now follow.

In her course Sarah defines the role of a therapist as one of a teammate where patient and therapist work in tandem on agreed upon goals. Within this model therapy activities and goals are defined by the life experience and personal interests of the patient. Sample goals might center around;

  • Operating a coffee maker
  • Responding to a phone call
  • Organizing a grocery list
  • Making a date to play golf
  • Alerting a friend you may have an issue with speech
  • Going through the steps of writing an email
  • Re-learning a work task

The current medical model of treatment bases it’s therapy in universal teaching contexts which may or not be relevant to a patient’s life. In this model therapy success is defined by results on a standardized test or a predetermined performance standard.  In contrast Person Centered Care breaks from this more traditional model the therapy to structure goals around the functional needs and interests of the patient. If you need groceries – how might you order groceries online or by phone. If using a phone is problematic practicing phone conversations in real life contexts may be in order with possibly the first goal alerting the listener you may have a problem with speech.

Therapy is suddenly personal, meaningful and pertinent. Therapy materials which filled closets for in some cases decades are out the window. ST’s longer work to improve numbers measured by a standardized test but performance on an everyday task.

Therapy materials are formed around the everyday interests and needs of the patient which in turn powers ST’s to be creative. This approach to therapy presents a unique therapy challenge. It’s not as much about thinking outside the box – but understanding the box sitting in front of you and that’s the real fun. In a very real sense we’re helping a person find and be themselves.

Sarah Baar cites studies by (Hinckley & Yones, 2014) (Rutherford & Childs, 2015) which finds PCC patients;

  • Are less likely to be readmitted
  • Show more trust and motivation
  • Are more likely to adhere to treatment regimens
  • Show better recovery, quicker rates of generalization, improved self-awareness
  • Demonstrate better emotional health at follow-up
  • Require fewer diagnostic tests and referrals

Sarah goes on to indicate insurance companies are very much on board with PCC and that Medicare actually now includes PCC as part of their annual goal and five year centered vision plan.

This approach to therapy makes so much sense it’s surprising it has taken this long to become a thing in speech therapy. If you are Speech-Language Pathologist, or person concerned with the topic of speech therapy for neurogenic disorders, we strongly suggest a visit to:  and the words and works of Sarah Baar to learn more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *