Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) frequently work collaboratively with a number of different healthcare and education professionals. The following section provides information on definitions and descriptions of types of collaborative working, and includes examples of collaborative practice in various clinical contexts across countries. A number of resources relevant to this topic are included below.
A. TYPES OF COLLABORATIVE WORKING
These descriptions are suggested as a helpful introduction to be supplemented by published sources in the following sections.
Collaboration in healthcare and education involves professionals adopting complementary roles and working cooperatively, sharing responsibility for problem-solving and making decisions to devise and implement plans for client care. Collaboration between professionals increases team members’ insight and awareness of each others’ type of knowledge and skills, which supports ongoing improvement in decision making
• Uses the skills and expertise of individuals from a number of different disciplines.
• Each discipline approaches the patient/client from their own perspective.
• Each discipline formulates separate goals for the client/patient.
• Each discipline manages and is responsible for different aspects of a patient/client’s care.
• There will be varying levels of coordination, disciplines may work independently and interact formally.
• The team shares information to discuss findings and future directions about the patient/client and family.
• Multidisciplinary teams provide more knowledge and experience than disciplines operating in isolation.
(Jessup 2007; Mauk, 2010)
• Composed of professionals from one discipline but include team members from different levels of training and skill within the discipline.
For example, an SLT team which comprises Community clinic SLTs, Early Years team SLTs, SLTs with post-graduate dysphagia training, SLT Assistants
• Different professionals work together to share expertise, knowledge, and skills to impact on client management.
• Members of the team contribute their own individual expertise but collaborate to interpret results and develop common goals and care plans.
• Team members have common and collective goals, they negotiate priorities and agree by consensus.
• The pooling of specialised interventions leads to integrated interventions.
• Collaborative communication (rather than shared communication)
(Hughes, 2008; Jessup, 2007; Nancarrow et al, 2013)
• Members share knowledge, skills and professional responsibilities across traditional disciplinary boundaries.
• Members have accepted that decisions and roles will be shared.
• Cross-discipline working and flexibility in accomplishing tasks.
• Some blurring of professional boundaries.
B. CLINICAL EXAMPLES OF COLLABORATIVE WORKING
The Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists, in collaboration with the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf (2007), have established universal principles of good practice in collaborative working. These principles form the basis for the clinical examples of collaborative working outlined in Table 1 below.
These clinical examples do not represent recommended or best practice. They are examples of various aspects and manners of collaborative working in specific contexts, and were provided by CPLOL members. As such, the examples may not be representative of the collaborative working process which occurs in similar circumstances in the same country. The examples are from a range of healthcare and educational settings and involve a variety of healthcare and education professionals.
Please click on the √√s in the table below to access the examples.
Table 1: Examples of Collaborative Working
MSD: Motor speech disorders
HI: Hearing Impairment
CI: Cochlear Implant
EDS Disorders: Eating, drinking, swallowing disorders
SLI: Specific Language Impairment
C. COLLABORATIVE WORKING RESOURCES
A CPLOL working group of the Professional Practice commission carried out a survey to determine if and how SLTs in Europe work
collaboratively with other professions as well as to explore SLT perspectives on benefits and challenges associated with collaborative working.
Click for detail on the findings in English and in French.
See below for a selection of useful websites from organisations and journals which contain information related to collaborative working.
1. Australasian Interprofessional Practice and Education Network http://www.aippen.net/
2. Centre For The Advancement Of Interprofessional Education http://caipe.org.uk/
3. Journal of Interprofessional Care http://www.caipe.org.uk/resources/journal-of-interprofessional-care/
4. Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative http://www.cihc.ca/
5. The International Association for Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice http://cihc.wikispaces.com/International+Association+for+Interprofessional+Education+and+Collaborative+Practice
6. Nordic Interprofessional Network http://nipnet.org/
*Summary of resource available, click on link
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