Inpatient Functional Communication Interview: Screening, Assessment, and Intervention

First Edition

Robyn O'Halloran, Linda Worrall, Deborah Toffolo, Chris Code

Details: 170 pages, B&W, Spiral Bound, 8.5" x 11"

ISBN13: 978-1-63550172-8

© 2020 | Available


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The Inpatient Functional Communication Interview: Screening, Assessment, and Intervention (IFCI: SAI) is a set of four resources for speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and other healthcare professionals working in acute and rehabilitation hospitals. They can be used separately or together to enhance patient-provider communication in hospitals. The IFCI: SAI has been developed so healthcare professionals can identify and support patients who have difficulty communicating, with a focus on patients with communication disability. The following resources are included:

  • Screening Questionnaire. Designed to identify patients who have difficulty communicating about their healthcare and will need support to communicate with healthcare providers in hospital.
  • Inpatient Functional Communication Interview (IFCI). A semi-structured interview that the SLP conducts at the patient’s bedside. During the interview, the SLP investigates how well the patient can communicate in everyday healthcare communication activities. If the SLP and patient have difficulty communicating, the clinician investigates if any communication supports or strategies enable successful communication.
  • Impairment Rating Scales. These assist the SLP to rate their initial clinical impressions of the patient’s speech intelligibility, spoken language, and cognitive-communicative function. Each rating scale provides descriptions of speech, language, and cognitive-communicative function on a five-point scale ranging from no impairment to complete impairment.
  • Environmental Questionnaires (EQs). The set of EQs assist SLPs and other healthcare professionals to screen the communicative environment for factors influencing patient-provider communication in their setting. Once the factors that influence patient-provider communication have been identified, SLPs and other healthcare professionals may be better informed and more able to systematically address these factors to develop communicatively accessible hospital services.

Additionally, a PluralPlus companion website includes video examples that pair with case studies from the book to demonstrate how to use the resources in practice.


Originally published in German and translated to English:
"The interview consists of several parts that can be used individually or together to capture and optimize communication between patient and healthcare provider. The target group are patients whose communicative possibilities are limited. This includes not only people with speech and language disorders, but also people with a different language background or a low level of education.
The method is based on the ICF, the theory of accommodation within communication (CAT, Communication Accomodation Therapy) and conceptual models of social determinants of health. Thus the focus of 'classical speech therapy diagnostics' is consistently expanded. For speech therapy, three rating scales are available to measure functional communication for intelligibility, speech and cognition. The basis is a semi-structured 30 to 40-minute conversation conducted at the patient's bedside. Here it is documented to what extent the patient is able to communicate in everyday communication activities (e.g., Do you still need things of daily use? Do you have questions about the medical background?).
If difficulties arise, individual strategies are immediately sought to support communication. In addition, environmental questionnaires are included to check the communication environment for factors that shape communication in everyday stationary life. On the website of the publishing house there are also helpful video examples that demonstrate the implementation of the questionnaires for people who are sometimes severely impaired and show possible solutions."
—Dr. Annette Marek in Forum Logopädie (September 2020)

Foreword by Nina Simmons-Mackie





Chapter 1. Overview

Chapter 2. Rationale for the IFCI: SAI

Chapter 3. IFCI – Screening Questionnaire

Chapter 4. The Inpatient Functional Communication Interview (IFCI)

Chapter 5. Rating Communication – Related Impairments

Chapter 6. IFCI ­– Environment Questionnaires

Chapter 7. Case Studies


Appendix A. Inpatient Functional Communication Interview – Screening Questionnaire

Appendix B. Inpatient Functional Communication Interview – Assessment Form

Appendix C. Inpatient Functional Communication Interview – Interview Script

Appendix D. Inpatient Functional Communication Interview – Cheat Sheet

Appendix E. Inpatient Functional Communication Interview – Speech Intelligibility Rating Scale

Appendix F. Inpatient Functional Communication Interview – Spoken Language Rating Scale

Appendix G. Inpatient Functional Communication Interview – Cognitive-Communication Rating Scale

Appendix H. The Overall – Environmental Questionnaire

Appendix I. The Ward – Environmental Questionnaire

Appendix J. The Hospital – Environmental Questionnaire

Appendix K. The External Agencies – Environmental Questionnaire



Robyn O'Halloran

Robyn O’Halloran, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer in the Disicpline of Speech Pathology at La Trobe Univeristy, and Research Speech Pathologist at St Vincent’s Hospital, in Melbourne, Australia. She completed her Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech and Hearing ) at Curtin University, Perth, Australia, and her M.Phil and PhD in Speech Pathology at The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

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Linda Worrall

Linda Worrall, PhD, B. Sp. Therapy, is a Professor Emerita of Speech Pathology at The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia and current Chairperson of the Australian Aphasia Association. She completed her undergraduate degree in speech pathology at The University of Queensland but then completed her PhD in the Stroke Research Unit in Nottingham, UK.

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Deborah Toffolo

Deborah Toffolo, M. App. Sci., B. App. Sci., is a Practicing Speech Pathologist and Rehabilitation Case Manager at Access Brain Injury Services in Sydney, Australia. She established this service in 1995, in response to the need for specialized rehabilitation services for people with traumatic brain injury following discharge from hospital.

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Chris Code

Chris Code, PhD, MA, LCST, is Fellow of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, a licenced speech and language therapist and a Chartered Psychologist. He is currently Honorary Professorial Research Fellow in the Department of Psychology, University of Exeter, England, past Foundation Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Sydney, past Research Manager and Regional Development Advisor for Speakability, UK, visiting Professor at the Universities of Bremen, Germany, Linkoping, Sweden and Louisiana at Lafayette, USA.

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Purchase of Inpatient Functional Communication Interview: Screening, Assessment, and Intervention comes with access to supplementary materials on a PluralPlus companion website.

To access the materials, you must register the access code printed on the inside front cover of your book on the companion website and log in.

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