What Makes a Caseload (Un)Manageable? School-Based Speech-Language Pathologists Speak Purpose Large caseload sizes and a shortage of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are ongoing concerns in the field of speech and language. This study was conducted to identify current mean caseload size for school-based SLPs, a threshold at which caseload size begins to be perceived as unmanageable, and variables contributing to ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2010
What Makes a Caseload (Un)Manageable? School-Based Speech-Language Pathologists Speak
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lauren A. Katz
    Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH
  • Abby Maag
    Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH
  • Karen A. Fallon
    Towson University, Towson, MD
  • Katie Blenkarn
    Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
  • Megan K. Smith
    EBS Healthcare, Bowling Green, OH
  • Contact author: Lauren A. Katz, Bowling Green State University, Communication Disorders, 200 Health Center Building, Bowling Green, OH 43403. E-mail: katzla@bgsu.edu.
Article Information
School-Based Settings / Practice Management / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2010
What Makes a Caseload (Un)Manageable? School-Based Speech-Language Pathologists Speak
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2010, Vol. 41, 139-151. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/08-0090)
History: Received August 7, 2008 , Revised December 12, 2008 , Accepted January 21, 2009
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2010, Vol. 41, 139-151. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/08-0090)
History: Received August 7, 2008; Revised December 12, 2008; Accepted January 21, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 7

Purpose Large caseload sizes and a shortage of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are ongoing concerns in the field of speech and language. This study was conducted to identify current mean caseload size for school-based SLPs, a threshold at which caseload size begins to be perceived as unmanageable, and variables contributing to school-based SLPs' feelings of caseload manageability.

Method Approximately 2,000 public-school-based SLPs from across the country were solicited to participate in an online, Web-based survey between April and May of 2007. Of those SLPs who were contacted, 634 full-time SLPs from 49 states completed the survey. The data were evaluated using descriptive statistics and logistic regression.

Results The mean caseload size for SLPs in this study was 49 students. At the caseload range of 41–50 students, approximately 60% of the SLPs perceived their caseload size as unmanageable. Logistic regression revealed caseload size, years of experience, and extent of collaboration as significant predictors of an SLP’s likelihood of feeling that his or her caseload size is manageable.

Conclusions Caseload size continues to be an area of concern for school-based SLPs, and efforts to address this problem must continue in order to prevent long-term struggles with SLPs' dissatisfaction, shortages, and turnover. Policy, research, and clinical implications are discussed.

Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access