An investigation of hospitality industry students’ awareness and knowledge of aphasia

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Abstract

Background: Previous studies highlight a lack of awareness of aphasia among the general public. To date, no research has investigated awareness of aphasia among those working in the hospitality service industry. A lack of awareness of aphasia can exacerbate reduced participation in society for people with aphasia (PWA); as lack of awareness has been identified as a core barrier to participation by PWA themselves. Reduced social participation is a central theme which impacts on negative quality of life for PWA. Education on the nature and impact of aphasia has been identified as a precursor to facilitating participation for PWA. However, before education of aphasia can be provided, we must first ascertain the current level of awareness and knowledge of aphasia among this population working in the hospitality service industry. Aims: To investigate the awareness and level of knowledge of aphasia among hospitality industry students in Ireland and identify strategies to improve awareness. Methods & Procedures: The participants, recruited from four third-level institutions in Ireland, completed a validated survey which was adapted for use with the target population. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyse responses. Open-ended questions were first analysed using content analysis, followed by descriptive statistical analysis. Outcomes & Results: One hundred and fifty-five hospitality industry students participated in this study. 9.68% of participants were aware of aphasia, whereas 3.23% of participants were found to have adequate knowledge of aphasia. Suggested strategies to improve awareness of aphasia were campaigning, education in college and advertising using print, broadcast, and social media. Conclusions: This study highlights a distinct lack of awareness and knowledge of aphasia among hospitality students. This can have a negative impact on PWA who have reported this as a barrier to their social participation. By raising awareness of aphasia among hospitality students, they will be better equipped to facilitate communication with PWA. This would break down the existing barrier to participation for PWA. All methods identified by participants can be used to raise awareness and, in particular, it is recommended that undergraduate education of aphasia be incorporated into the college curriculum at a policy level. As this is the first study of its kind on this population, further research in this area is warranted, particularly in the area of how best to raise awareness and knowledge of aphasia among this specific population.

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Guinan, N., & Carroll, C. (2019). An investigation of hospitality industry students’ awareness and knowledge of aphasia. Aphasiology, 33(3), 337–351. https://doi.org/10.1080/02687038.2018.1466105

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