Life Participation Approach to Aphasia (LPAA)

January 29, 2020
approach to aphasia

A new approach to helping patients re-engage in their life

Aphasia is a medical condition that affects a person’s ability to communicate. Sometimes called an impairment or a disorder, aphasia’s impact on a patient can be mild or severe. This condition tends to impact the everyday lives of those with aphasia and those around them. The Life Participation Approach to Aphasia (LPAA) is a philosophy of care driven by consumers to provide services supporting individuals with aphasia.1

The Origin and Goal of the LPAA

In recent years, a demand by consumers, providers and funders for meaningful treatment for aphasia drove professionals to create the LPAA. Unlike some treatment approaches, which focus heavily on research and physical conditions, the LPAA is designed to improve patients’ overall quality of life. The goal of the LPAA is for individuals with aphasia to increasingly participate in life until they no longer choose to have communication support.2

The Core Values of the LPAA

There are five core values emphasized in the LPAA. Each of these values is tied to the unique philosophy of the LPAA – that life-enhancement strategies should be a part of every step of treatment, not just a final step after language repair.

The LPAA’s core values include:

  • The Explicit Goal is Enhancement of Life Participation
  • All Those Affected by Aphasia are Entitled to Service
  • The Measures of Success Include Documented Life-Enhancement Changes
  • Both Personal and Environmental Factors are Targets of Intervention
  • Emphasis is on the Availability of Services as Needed at All Stages of Aphasia

The LPAA works with individuals with aphasia and those affected, like loved ones or coworkers. People at any stage of aphasia can receive services, so they are able to participate in life throughout their treatment process.3

Intervention Strategies and Success Measures

Through the LPAA, individuals with aphasia receive traditional treatment, like speech therapy, and have access to life-engaging strategies.

For instance, individuals may receive counseling with communication partners, such as family members, to learn how to functionally communicate throughout the stages of aphasia. Clinicians can check in on patients’ emotional well-being and be problem solvers for adaptations that may allow patients to return to work or social activities.

Through these strategies, success is measured by improvement in quality of life, not just improvement in language repair or other disorder-specific factors. The innovative approach of the LPAA marks a positive shift in the philosophy of treatment professionals employed not only in treating aphasia, but in the treatment of other medical conditions, as well.




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