Speech Pathology students lead on Telehealth

26/Aug/2021     Health

Speech Pathologists from Mater Hospital have found an innovative way of continuing patient appointments and student learning throughout the COVID lockdown with impressive results.

During the last lockdown clinicians were focused on performing consultations via Telehealth where appropriate, however students were not permitted onsite. 

Speech Pathologist Danielle Rutledge explained this was an issue as her students needed to continue practical work in order to complete their placement.

“With everyone working from home I was able to establish a Telehealth session with our voice therapy patients and students in the one virtual room,” Ms Rutledge said.

“I was able to turn off my camera and sit quietly observing the students and patients interact with each other and found this to be a fantastic way of working.

“When students are with a patient and myself in a room, they are aware I am observing them, however online when they couldn’t see me, and they outperformed themselves.”

Ms Rutledge explains the students and patients quickly developed a fantastic rapport with the session running smoothly.

“Sometimes if I am observing a student during a session the patient will constantly look to me for guidance or assurance, the Telehealth sessions they focused their attention on the students,” Ms Rutledge said.

“I was able still to speak up during the appointment where appropriate but for the most part the students were confidently running the session themselves.

“We have already received outstanding feedback from the patients who participated, and they are keen to continue this form of appointment moving forward.”

Australian Catholic University Speech Pathology students April Williams and Yasmin Sekula are now back on campus but continuing sessions socially distanced.

Speech Pathology Team Lead Lucy Lyons said students were now permitted back on the campus, but teams still had to be mindful of social distancing.

“We are able to continue this form of appointment with students in one room, the Speech Pathologist in another and the patient at home,” Ms Lyons said.

“Thanks to Danielle’s innovative way of holding these appointments we are able to get through our patient lists quickly and efficiently while meeting our teaching requirements.

“We are hoping to continue this method of working as our team is passionate about providing good quality services to our patients.”

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