Dr Sarah Wallace

NHMRC Senior Research Fellow

School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences
s.wallace3@uq.edu.au
+61 7 334 67453

Overview

Of the 300,000 people in Australia with communication disability, 31% report unmet communication needs. Sarah's research is driven by a desire to give these people a voice.

Sarah is an NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellow, a Lecturer in Speech Pathology, and a Certified Practising Speech Pathologist. Her research interests include communication disability in ageing and enabling and measuring meaningful change in post-stroke (language/communication impairment following stroke) aphasia. She uses qualitative and mixed methods to explore the lived experience of communication disability, and works in partnership with consumers and clinicians to co-produce clinical interventions and methodological approaches that support the production of meaningful outcomes.

Research Interests

  • Aphasia Rehabilitation
  • Core Outcome Set development
  • Consensus techniques and stakeholder engagement
  • Communication disability in ageing
  • Co-design
  • Outcome measurement

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosphy, The University of Queensland
  • Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, VIC
  • Bachelor of Speech Pathology, The University of Queensland

Publications

View all Publications

Supervision

  • (2022) Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • Background: In Australia, a stroke occurs every 19 minutes and a third of survivors will have aphasia—impaired language and communication. Aphasia negatively impacts quality of life to a greater extent than dementia or cancer, yet there is no long-term solution to improving survivorship for this population.

    Self-management is a model of care that empowers survivors to actively participate in and take responsibility for the management of their health. This approach has the potential to improve survivorship for people with aphasia, however existing programs are not tailored to their needs.

    This PhD research aims to empower stroke survivors with aphasia to successfully self-manage their long-term recovery through co-design, development, and evaluation of a novel mobile health smartphone application that motivates adherence to real-life, self-managed Comprehensive, High-dose Aphasia Treatment (lifeCHAT).

    There are two projects available:

    1. Using Experience-Based Co-Design and behaviour change theory you will identify the factors that enable adherence to comprehensive, high-dose, self-managed aphasia treatment. In partnership with consumers and clinicians, you will co-create and trial an accessible mobile solution that motivates survivors to meet treatment targets, manage their recovery, and optimise outcomes. The student: This project would suit a student with a background speech pathology. There is no earmarked funding for this PhD project. The student would be supported to apply for a UQ-funded scholarship via a competitive process.

    2. Using Experience-Based Co-Design and behaviour change theory you will identify the factors in the design of a technology that enable adherence to comprehensive, high-dose, self-managed aphasia treatment that also meets the needs of other stakeholders such as therapists and care partners. In partnership with consumers (people living with aphasia and their care partners) and clinicians, you will co-create and trial an accessible mobile solution that motivates survivors to meet treatment targets, manage their recovery, and optimise outcomes. The student: This project would suit a student with a background in technology design and/or human-computer interaction. Some background with mobile app development is preferred but not essential.

    Lead supervisors for further information: Dr Sarah Wallace (s.wallace3@uq.edu.au ); Dr Megan Isaacs, Dr Peter Worthy.

  • Background: Patient experience and satisfaction with the care they have received is well established as a main criterion of quality in healthcare. Patient experience is linked to clinical effectiveness and clinical safety, including positive associations with self-rated and objectively measured health outcomes and adherence to recommended clinical practice. In the field of stroke and aphasia, patient satisfaction is also considered a key outcome. Stroke is the most common cause of adult disability in the western world. About 1/3 of people with stroke will have aphasia, a devastating communication impairment that affects all aspects of communication, including speaking, understanding what others say, reading and writing. A recent international research project explored the outcomes that are most important in aphasia therapy. Eighty aphasia researchers, 265 aphasia clinicians and 53 managers from 25 countries took part in an e-Delphi consensus exercise: patient-reported satisfaction with aphasia therapy was selected as one of the most important outcomes of treatment and clinical effectiveness research. In a linked international project, people with aphasia and their families identified outcomes relating to the quality of health services as essential in improving their lives with aphasia. This research by Wallace and her colleagues on the outcomes of most importance to people with aphasia, their families and aphasia clinicians and researchers led to the development of a Core Outcome Set (COS) for people with aphasia. A COS is a minimum set of outcomes that should be included in all clinical effectiveness studies. The inclusion of a minimum set of outcomes in effectiveness studies facilitates data aggregation and comparison across studies, allowing results to be used with maximum efficiency in systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The consensus work by Wallace et al. identified that the COS for aphasia should include a measure to assess patient satisfaction with aphasia therapy; yet no measure was identified for this outcome. The need to develop a patient-reported outcome measure of satisfaction with aphasia therapy was raised as a key research priority. This project addresses this need by undertaking the necessary theoretical work and consultation with people with aphasia to devela patient-reported outcome measure of Experience and Satisfaction with Aphasia Therapy (ESAT).

    Aims: This project aims to better understand what makes therapy satisfying for people with post-stroke aphasia (language disability) and use this information to develop an outcome measure and inform clinical practice. There are three objectives:

    1. Synthesise the existing evidence on people with aphasia’s experience and satisfaction with aphasia therapy

    2. Explore people with aphasia’s views on satisfaction with therapy based on their expectations and experience

    3. Develop a patient-reported outcome measure of Experience and Satisfaction with Aphasia Therapy (ESAT).

    Supervisory team: Dr Sarah Wallace, Professor Katerina Hilari (City, University of London), Dr Sarah Northcott (City, Univeristy of London)

  • Background: Communication difficulties are amongst the most common and devastating symptoms of dementia. Over time, a person with dementia may have trouble expressing their needs, wants, and feelings; limiting their ability to communicate choice, provide feedback, and raise concerns. People with dementia rely heavily on aged care services. The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has brought to light ‘shameful’ stories of sub-standard care, abuse, and neglect, and has highlighted widespread community dissatisfaction with a disempowering complaints system. This is particularly concerning for people with dementia who comprise more than half of aged care recipients, are at higher risk of abuse, and who may have difficulty communicating their concerns. No research has examined how people with dementia and associated communication disability can be supported to authentically engage with feedback and complaints mechanisms. This project will use experience-based co-design to develop a suite of resources that support people with dementia to provide feedback, raise complaints, and engage in important conversations about care. Across three phases of research, we will work in partnership with people with dementia, their families, carers, health professionals, and care managers to ensure that resources can be meaningfully and feasibly implemented in residential and community aged care settings.

    The student: This project would suit a student with a background in speech pathology. There is no earmarked funding for this PhD project. The student would be supported to apply for a UQ-funded scholarship via a competitive process.

    Lead supervisors for further information: Dr Sarah Wallace (s.wallace3@uq.edu.au ), A/Prof Anthony Angwin.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book Chapter

  • Wallace, Sarah J., Shrubsole, Kirstine and Brady, Marian C. (2021). Treatment efficacy and therapy outcomes. Aphasia and related neurogenic communication disorders. (pp. 129-158) edited by Ilias Papathanasiou, Patrick Coppens and Constantin Potagas. Burlington, MA, United States: Jones and Bartlett Learning.

  • Worrall, Linda, Rose, Tanya, Brandenburg, Caitlin, Rohde, Alexia, Berg, Karianne and Wallace, Sarah J. (2016). Aphasia in later life. Encyclopedia of Geropsychology. (pp. 1-7) edited by A. N. Pachana. Singapore: Springer Singapore. doi: 10.1007/978-981-287-080-3_346-1

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Background: In Australia, a stroke occurs every 19 minutes and a third of survivors will have aphasia—impaired language and communication. Aphasia negatively impacts quality of life to a greater extent than dementia or cancer, yet there is no long-term solution to improving survivorship for this population.

    Self-management is a model of care that empowers survivors to actively participate in and take responsibility for the management of their health. This approach has the potential to improve survivorship for people with aphasia, however existing programs are not tailored to their needs.

    This PhD research aims to empower stroke survivors with aphasia to successfully self-manage their long-term recovery through co-design, development, and evaluation of a novel mobile health smartphone application that motivates adherence to real-life, self-managed Comprehensive, High-dose Aphasia Treatment (lifeCHAT).

    There are two projects available:

    1. Using Experience-Based Co-Design and behaviour change theory you will identify the factors that enable adherence to comprehensive, high-dose, self-managed aphasia treatment. In partnership with consumers and clinicians, you will co-create and trial an accessible mobile solution that motivates survivors to meet treatment targets, manage their recovery, and optimise outcomes. The student: This project would suit a student with a background speech pathology. There is no earmarked funding for this PhD project. The student would be supported to apply for a UQ-funded scholarship via a competitive process.

    2. Using Experience-Based Co-Design and behaviour change theory you will identify the factors in the design of a technology that enable adherence to comprehensive, high-dose, self-managed aphasia treatment that also meets the needs of other stakeholders such as therapists and care partners. In partnership with consumers (people living with aphasia and their care partners) and clinicians, you will co-create and trial an accessible mobile solution that motivates survivors to meet treatment targets, manage their recovery, and optimise outcomes. The student: This project would suit a student with a background in technology design and/or human-computer interaction. Some background with mobile app development is preferred but not essential.

    Lead supervisors for further information: Dr Sarah Wallace (s.wallace3@uq.edu.au ); Dr Megan Isaacs, Dr Peter Worthy.

  • Background: Patient experience and satisfaction with the care they have received is well established as a main criterion of quality in healthcare. Patient experience is linked to clinical effectiveness and clinical safety, including positive associations with self-rated and objectively measured health outcomes and adherence to recommended clinical practice. In the field of stroke and aphasia, patient satisfaction is also considered a key outcome. Stroke is the most common cause of adult disability in the western world. About 1/3 of people with stroke will have aphasia, a devastating communication impairment that affects all aspects of communication, including speaking, understanding what others say, reading and writing. A recent international research project explored the outcomes that are most important in aphasia therapy. Eighty aphasia researchers, 265 aphasia clinicians and 53 managers from 25 countries took part in an e-Delphi consensus exercise: patient-reported satisfaction with aphasia therapy was selected as one of the most important outcomes of treatment and clinical effectiveness research. In a linked international project, people with aphasia and their families identified outcomes relating to the quality of health services as essential in improving their lives with aphasia. This research by Wallace and her colleagues on the outcomes of most importance to people with aphasia, their families and aphasia clinicians and researchers led to the development of a Core Outcome Set (COS) for people with aphasia. A COS is a minimum set of outcomes that should be included in all clinical effectiveness studies. The inclusion of a minimum set of outcomes in effectiveness studies facilitates data aggregation and comparison across studies, allowing results to be used with maximum efficiency in systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The consensus work by Wallace et al. identified that the COS for aphasia should include a measure to assess patient satisfaction with aphasia therapy; yet no measure was identified for this outcome. The need to develop a patient-reported outcome measure of satisfaction with aphasia therapy was raised as a key research priority. This project addresses this need by undertaking the necessary theoretical work and consultation with people with aphasia to devela patient-reported outcome measure of Experience and Satisfaction with Aphasia Therapy (ESAT).

    Aims: This project aims to better understand what makes therapy satisfying for people with post-stroke aphasia (language disability) and use this information to develop an outcome measure and inform clinical practice. There are three objectives:

    1. Synthesise the existing evidence on people with aphasia’s experience and satisfaction with aphasia therapy

    2. Explore people with aphasia’s views on satisfaction with therapy based on their expectations and experience

    3. Develop a patient-reported outcome measure of Experience and Satisfaction with Aphasia Therapy (ESAT).

    Supervisory team: Dr Sarah Wallace, Professor Katerina Hilari (City, University of London), Dr Sarah Northcott (City, Univeristy of London)

  • Background: Communication difficulties are amongst the most common and devastating symptoms of dementia. Over time, a person with dementia may have trouble expressing their needs, wants, and feelings; limiting their ability to communicate choice, provide feedback, and raise concerns. People with dementia rely heavily on aged care services. The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has brought to light ‘shameful’ stories of sub-standard care, abuse, and neglect, and has highlighted widespread community dissatisfaction with a disempowering complaints system. This is particularly concerning for people with dementia who comprise more than half of aged care recipients, are at higher risk of abuse, and who may have difficulty communicating their concerns. No research has examined how people with dementia and associated communication disability can be supported to authentically engage with feedback and complaints mechanisms. This project will use experience-based co-design to develop a suite of resources that support people with dementia to provide feedback, raise complaints, and engage in important conversations about care. Across three phases of research, we will work in partnership with people with dementia, their families, carers, health professionals, and care managers to ensure that resources can be meaningfully and feasibly implemented in residential and community aged care settings.

    The student: This project would suit a student with a background in speech pathology. There is no earmarked funding for this PhD project. The student would be supported to apply for a UQ-funded scholarship via a competitive process.

    Lead supervisors for further information: Dr Sarah Wallace (s.wallace3@uq.edu.au ), A/Prof Anthony Angwin.