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It is known that our population is ageing, resulting in an increase in the number of people living with progressive neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. Health services endeavour to deliver specialist and personalised care to all these people, often with diminishing resources. In countries such as Australia, delivering such services to more remote areas has been a real challenge, with flying doctors being one of the resolutions to provide local quality care. Alternative complementary solutions have been made possible with the development of video conferencing technology. Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) has been found to be one of the most effective interventions for people with dysarthria in Parkinson’s disease. LSVT is an intensive intervention delivered in a group setting with maintenance sessions recommended to maximise the long-term impact. This study aimed to determine the acceptability and effectiveness of a group maintenance programme delivered via tele-rehabilitation. Eight participants completed their first LSVT treatment six months prior to the intervention. The eight participants were divided into three groups for the maintenance programme which was delivered in 90 minute sessions twice a week for four weeks via video conferencing. Results demonstrate significant improvements in almost all vocal tasks post-treatment and at follow-up, but there was no change in quality of life at any time. Additionally, participants found the intervention acceptable. Delivering interventions via tele-rehabilitation may maximise use of valuable services and ensure more equitable access to intervention in our ageing population. Using this creative model to maximise opportunities for service delivery is a priority for the discipline of speech and language therapy and further research is required to evidence the effectiveness of this approach.

Delivering group speech maintenance therapy vie tele-rehabilitation to people with Parkinson’s disease: a pilot study.
Quinn R, Park S, Theodoros D, Hill AJ.
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Anna Volkmer

UCL, London, UK.

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