Technology to Make Life Easier for Stroke Patients
02/07/2014A new video conferencing speech and language service is making life easier for people who have had a stroke and live in the Newry and Mourne area.
The Southern Trust is the first to pilot the programme which offers video link sessions between the specialist stroke speech and language therapists at Daisy Hill Hospital and Kilkeel Health Centre and the patient in their own home.
Specialist Stroke Speech and Language Therapist Fiona Patterson explains: “As we have a small team, working across quite a dispersed area, we wanted to find a way to reach as many clients as possible without compromising the quality of our service. The solution was to install video conferencing equipment at our base clinics linked to units in clients own homes. The system’s high spec zoom allows us to clearly demonstrate exercises and examine the progress of our clients. We still have face to face contact, but the video conferencing allows us to offer additional sessions to more clients and more intensive therapy.”
The project is funded through the ITTS - Implemented Transnational Telemedicine Solutions, which aims to use technology to improve accessibility of services in marginal areas of Europe.
Feedback from clients has been very positive. 56 year old Damian McElholm from Warrenpoint has been using the system to have speech therapy three times a week. Damian says: “It is easy to use and I can have more sessions this way to help with my recovery.”
Angela McVeigh, Director of Older People and Primary Care for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust says: “Stroke can have a devastating impact on people’s lives affecting their ability to move, eat, speak or carry out simple tasks.
“The video conferencing speech and language therapy is one example of how our Community Stroke Team is helping to make life easier for people following a stroke and if possible, avoid a lengthy hospital stay. Following their discharge from hospital the team of specialist nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists work with people for 12 weeks in their own homes, to help them regain their independence. The service also works closely with the community and voluntary sector who provide ongoing support to ensure that more people are regaining independent lives following a stroke.
“The video conferencing link has been a great success so we will be exploring how this might be used by other health professionals delivering services within the community.”
Click here to see the video conferencing speech and language therapy in action.
Specialist Stroke Speech and Language Therapist for the Southern Trust, Fiona Patterson carrying out a video consultation with Damian McElholm from Warrenpoint.