Patient and Care Partner Ratings of Communication Participation in Frontotemporal Dementia

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Prior studies have shown communication-related participation restrictions in patients with degenerative disease do not always match clinician judgment of symptom severity. Relatedly, there is a growing body of literature documenting discrepancies between patients with dementia and care partner perception of participation restrictions. However, it is not known how care partner perceptions of communication participation restrictions match or diverge from the patient's experience, which was the topic of this study. Toward that end, 28 patients with apraxia of speech and/or dysarthria associated with primary progressive apraxia of speech, nonfluent/agrammatic primary progressive aphasia, or progressive supranuclear palsy, all types of frontotemporal dementia, were seen for speech-language examinations. The patients and their care partners were asked to independently complete the Communication Participation Item Bank (CPIB), short form, which is a 10-question survey about communication in different contexts; higher scores reflect less interference from their condition on communication. Care partners were instructed to complete the form with their perception of the patient's restrictions. The total CPIB score (maximum 30) and difference scores were calculated and visualized. The data (Figure) suggest mismatches exist in care partner and patient ratings of communication participation restrictions. Of 28 patients, only 1 pair had identical scores, each rating severe interference in all communication contexts. 57% of patients rated communication as less impacted (higher scores) compared to their family member, leaving 39% of family members rating communication as less impacted than their loved one's perception. This study lays the foundation for future research to include patient and care partner ratings when examining the benefit of impairment-based therapy, utilization of compensatory speech strategies, effectiveness of such strategies, and impact of other augmentative or alternative means of communication. The CPIB may be useful to document reduced psychosocial impact of disease and diminished burden and burnout on care partners with different intervention options. Future studies will explore possible differences between FTD phenotypes and, more specifically, whether 1) the motor speech disorder (MSD) disorder is primary or secondary to other motor impairment, 2) the nature or severity of the MSD, or 3) concomitant cognitive-communication impairment predict the existence of and/or direction of a discrepancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e060715
JournalAlzheimer's & dementia : the journal of the Alzheimer's Association
StatePublished - Dec 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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