Terms and Definitions (used in this report) on AAC Data and Evidence
"Accurate figures on the prevalence of need are required for service planning and commissioning. Determining the prevalence of need is also a prerequisite to identifying unmet need in comparison with use figures".
What is the purpose of improving the availability of Data and Evidence about AAC?
The overall purpose of improving the availability of data and evidence is to ensure that the AAC population (defined here as people who could benefit from AAC) have access to, and benefit from, the AAC provision to which they are entitled under the legal duty.
Why is it necessary to take a population approach to AAC?
Taking a population or public health approach to AAC involves increasing our understanding, and addressing the needs, of the whole AAC population. Without such an approach, our understanding might only include people currently accessing AAC services, and could exclude people who need services but do not access them – possibly representing unmet need.
What is unmet need in the context of AAC?
Need can be defined as the capacity to benefit from services.
Unmet need can be defined as people who could benefit from services but do not or cannot access them. Applied to AAC, unmet need could arise because of:
- Supply factors: services are not identifying or reaching people who need AAC.
- Demand factors: people who need AAC are not aware that there are services that could help them; or are reluctant to seek or accept such services.
How could improving the availability of data and evidence benefit the AAC population?
Improving data and evidence has the potential to be used for the benefit of people who need AAC, and over time, to monitor progress against the legal duty.
Specific uses of improved data and evidence could include:
- Improving the identification of the AAC population to appropriate health and care service providers. This should ensure that those people are offered the signposting, assessment and any necessary interventions to which they are entitled under the legal duty.
- Supporting health and care services to monitor their AAC provision: for example, waiting times and quality of services.
- Analysing the characteristics of AAC service users in order to identify any unmet need and inequalities in access to services experienced by specific groups in the AAC population. For example:
- Demographic analysis: such as by gender, age, geographical area (e.g. NHS Board, Health and Social Care Partnership), Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD).
- Analysis of underlying diagnoses: to understand whether services are reaching people with the main conditions known to be associated with AAC need.
- Monitoring AAC service user outcomes, for example, functional status and quality of life.