Background: In response to the need to simultaneously address multiple domains of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) in aphasia therapy and to incorporate intensive treatment doses consistent with principles of neuroplasticity, a potentially potent treatment option termed intensive comprehensive aphasia programs (ICAPs) has been developed.
Objective: To conduct an international survey of ICAPs to determine the extent of their use and to explore current ICAP practices.
Methods: A 32-item online survey was distributed internationally through Survey Monkey between May and August 2012. The survey addressed ICAP staffing, philosophy, values, funding, admission criteria, activities, family involvement, outcome measures, and factors considered important to success.
Results: Twelve ICAPs responded: 8 from the United States, 2 from Canada, and 1 each from Australia and the United Kingdom. The majority of ICAPs are affiliated with university programs and are funded through participant self-pay. ICAPs emphasize individualized treatment goals and evidence-based practices, with a focus on applying the principles of neuroplasticity related to repetition and intensity of treatment. On average, 6 people with aphasia attend each ICAP, for 4 days per week for 4 weeks, receiving about 100 hours of individual, group, and computer-based treatment. Speech-language pathologists, students, and volunteers staff the majority of ICAPs.
Conclusions: ICAPs are increasing in number but remain a rare service delivery option. They address the needs of individuals who want access to intensive treatment and are interested in making significant changes to their communication skills and psychosocial well-being in a short period of time. Their efficacy and cost-effectiveness require future investigation.