Doing things differently: experiences from a speech and language therapy service during the COVID-19 pandemic

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has led to significant changes for healthcare professionals working in specialist Parkinson’s services. Below, Clodagh Daly, Speech and Language Therapist from the New Forest, shares her and her team’s experience of moving in-person group sessions online to keep supporting their patients with Parkinson’s.

“When the pandemic hit, we had to think about ways of continuing to support our Parkinson’s patients. The waiting list would only keep growing, so we thought if people are willing to adapt, we can make it work. It might not have been their first preference but moving our ‘LOUD’ voice groups online has meant I can demonstrate the exercises and then watch and listen to their attempts while providing tips,” Clodagh shares.

Unexpected benefits to virtual sessions

The move to online sessions and remote consultations hasn’t always been smooth sailing, bringing challenges for both healthcare professionals and people with Parkinson’s, but as Clodagh explains, there have also been some benefits in holding the sessions virtually for her patients:

“While some people have naturally missed the in-person contact, others have found the online sessions less stressful as they haven’t had to worry about the difficulties and expense of travelling to the clinic and parking. And even though people haven’t been able to physically meet in person, there has still been the opportunity to swap contact details and develop friendships.

More choice for the future

“Going forward, we hope to continue offering our support this way, and provide some face-to-face group support as needed.”

COVID-19 continues to impact Parkinson’s services but hopefully, as this Speech and Language team have shown, it will provide people with Parkinson’s with more choice in the future about how these services are delivered so that everyone’s individual needs can be met.

Share your experiences from the pandemic with us

Would you like to share how your services have changed within the last year, or discuss your adaptations with colleagues?

Get in touch with us below to share what you’re doing differently either in our newsletter or with regional colleagues in your local Excellence Network group. 

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