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QEII Hospital patients suffering from Parkinson’s Disease are reaping the benefits of a newly-developed program designed to maintain and improve communication skills.
The Loud and Proud program was the brainchild of QEII Director of Speech Pathology Ann Edwards who recently completed her Master of Philosophy through UQ titled Maintenance of speech in Parkinson’s disease: The impact of group therapy.
Speaking about the program, Ann said Loud and Proud was an extension of her studies and it was now permanently embedded into the health care for Parkinson’s patients at QEII and Gold Coast hospitals.
The program is a joint initiative with UQ and the Community Adult Rehab Service (CARS) and is conducted by Griffith University speech pathology students.
Each program is held for a duration of four-weeks and brings patients together twice a week who have previously completed the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment.
“The first group got underway this week and it’s an extremely rewarding experience for me,” Ann said.
“It’s all about how to best make the participant’s voices strong and to challenge them with their communication skills.”
Ann said in some circumstances people with Parkinson’s experienced changes in cognition and language, which make it difficult to think quickly, to manage multiple tasks, to find words or to understand complex sentences. These changes, even if subtle, can make it challenging for a person with Parkinson’s to follow a conversation.
“Continuing on from prior treatment, our groups also help people with their language ability to get in to and follow conversations and they also have the chance to practice these skills in their groups,” she said.
“It’s about providing patients with a strong voice and one more tool in their armoury to assist with their communication skills into the future.”