When a pandemic (rapidly) translates research into practice

Ms Ricci Presser1

1Monash Health, Melbourne , Australia

In early 2019, a pilot research project examining the feasibility of using telehealth for community-dwelling speech pathology clients was commenced at Monash Health. Monash Health had active telehealth services, but until this point was not a service delivery option for adult clients in the community rehabilitation program. In addition to assessing the feasibility, a key aim of this project was to engage and empower community rehabilitation clinicians in the research process.

Home-based community rehabilitation speech pathologists consented to participating in the research process. Clinicians participated in research activities including recruitment, data collection, and data entry. Resources developed to facilitate this included a detailed research protocol and a learning package to support the use of telehealth.

Early in the data collection phase of the project, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. With local restrictions in place, rapid healthcare adaptation was necessary. A move to tele-rehabilitation service delivery was initiated. The research continued. In addition, the resources developed as part of the research process were translated rapidly into clinical practice, forming the basis to train and upskill over 150 staff and develop a community rehabilitation tele-rehabilitation service.

Rigorous research design and detailed resource development were implemented to support and scaffold clinician involvement in the research process. In the face of a pandemic, these strategies also supported the implementation of research into practice. By ensuring research is clinically relevant, pragmatic, and engaged with end-users in the early phase, rapid translation in times of necessity is facilitated.


Ricci Presser is a Speech Pathologist with more than 15 years of experience. She is passionate about patient care and improving clinical outcomes for clients in rehabilitation.

She started her research into telehealth for Speech Pathology clients in 2017 and was a recipient of the Lions grant in 2018. Since then she has set up the telehealth clinic for Community Rehabilitation, using the research learning package to educate staff.

Ricci is an innovative and evidenced based practitioner  who carefully considers the organisational and broader socio-economic impacts on her practice and research.


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