Speaking Remotely: Increasing access to evidenced based therapy for people with dysarthria

Mrs Stephanie Taylor1, Mrs Emma Woods1

1NSW Helath, Milton Ulladulla, Australia

The ability to communicate is fundamental to quality of life and speech intelligibility is essential to communicative success.

There are more than 6,000,000 patients worldwide who are diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and nearly 90% develop speech signs that may reduce intelligibility.

An intensive behavioural speech treatment targeting voice, Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT LOUD®), is the gold standard for therapy.

Problem
30% of all patients that were referred to outpatient Speech Pathology services in the Shoalhaven Hospital Group (SHG) in 2020 had a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.

27% of these patients would have benefited from therapy targeting their speech and voice function.

0% of these patients received evidenced based therapy as our service did not have the means to provide LSVT.

Aim
Within 9 months 90% of patients with hypokinetic dysarthria within SHG will have access to evidenced based therapy.

Method
A range of clinical and operational strategies were implemented.

This resulted in the ability to complete LSVT via telehealth.

Our pilot case study involves 3 patients seen via telehealth for the entire LSVT program: 4 sessions per week for 4 weeks.

Outcomes
All patients increased scores with volume, maximum phonation time and intelligibility.

All patients achieved their goals, decreased scores on the Vocal Handicap Index and improved confidence with communication.

Consumer’s opinions of the Speech Pathology service improved and over 14,000 kms of travel was avoided. Staff efficiencies and productivity also increased and the pilot group generated an additional $10, 593 of activity.


Biography:

Emma Woods is a certified Speech Pathologist with over 16years experience working in both paediatrics and adults locally and internationally. She has a passion for education and training and currently works as the Speech Pathology Educator within the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District. She is a strong advocate of evidence based clinical management, service improvement and education and training. She has also played a vital role in the rapid roll out of Telehealth in Speech Pathology for the district.

Stephanie Taylor is a Speech Pathologist with 9 years experience working in and leading adult and paediatric services in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven. Her clinical expertise is working with people with a neurodegenerative disease and has a special interest in end of life care. Stephanie is a strong advocate for coordinated and interdisciplinary care models. She is passionate about service design and ensuring equitable access for people living in vulnerable, rural and remote areas.

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