The relationship between health-related quality of life and speech in patients with cleft palate.

Affiliation

Ghent University, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Speech-language Pathology/Audiology, Research Group, Ghent, Belgium. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

BACKGROUND : In health-care, current efforts focus on providing patient-centered care. Specifically for patients with velopharyngeal insufficiency, and by extent patients with cleft palate, the Velopharyngeal Insufficiency (VPI) Effects on Life Outcomes (VELO) questionnaire (Skirko et al., 2012; 2013) allows the clinician to map the impact of speech and swallowing difficulties on the patient's health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The current study evaluated the hypothesized association between this speech-related HRQoL measure and perceptually and instrumentally assessed speech variables, to provide evidence for the construct validity of the Dutch version of the VELO questionnaire.
METHODS : Thirty participants, twenty-five patients with cleft palate and five controls, were enrolled. Perceptual speech assessment was conducted following the recently developed Belgian Dutch outcome tool for perceptual speech assessment in patients with cleft palate. In addition, nasalance values and the Nasality Severity Index (NSI) 2.0 were determined. The relationship between these speech outcomes and the scores on the VELO parent report was determined using Spearman rank-order correlation coefficients.
RESULTS : Moderate to strong correlations were found between the total score on the VELO parent report and five speech variables: the VPC-SUM score (rs = -0.476), speech understandability (rs = -0.657), passive CSC's (rs = -0.654), speech acceptability (rs = -0.591) and the need for C(L)P-related speech therapy (rs = -0.711). Furthermore, these variables were associated with at least one subscale of the VELO questionnaire.
CONCLUSIONS : Correlations between speech outcomes and the Dutch version of the VELO questionnaire provide evidence for the construct validity of this version of the instrument. Furthermore, insights in these associations may lead the way to efficient therapy approaches, targeting speech features with the greatest impact on the patient's health-related quality of life.

Keywords

Cleft palate,Health-related quality of life,Speech,

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