After ten years running the annual Global Postlarygectomy Rehabilitation Academy Workshop at Princess Alexandra Hospital, recent border closures forced the 2021 workshop online to the advantage of remote participants.
As the only site in the southern hemisphere able to run this world-renowned workshop, the new virtual platform allowed participants from rural and remote parts of the country and the world to dial in and learn from the best.
“At PA, the Speech Pathology and Ear Nose and Throat teams work in conjunction to ensure we are always at the forefront of research, education and support in this field.
“Through our connection with the Netherlands Cancer Institute, we were able to host our first workshop in 2010 to share our learnings with colleagues on this side of the world,” said Speech Pathologist, Kelli Hancock.
The two-day workshop has historically been a hands-on event with participants managing patients and even dissecting a cadaver.
“We had to get creative and think laterally to be able to translate this workshop to an online forum but keeping key aspects of hands-on learning and networking.
“We sent training kits to each participant around the world ensuring they were able to receive a similar experience from their own centres as opposed to being on site,” said Kelli.
Due to the new virtual model, the workshop was able to expand from 25 in person participants to over 50 people online.
“We had participants predominately from Asia, New Zealand, Australia plus moderators and presenters from across Europe.
“Given the accessibility of the online workshop, clinicians from regional areas like Broken Hill and Roma were able to join,” said Kelli.
The workshop is PAH run and lead with members from the acute speech pathology and ENT teams providing a multidisciplinary approach to education in this clinical area.
“The workshop focuses on the rehabilitation of communication and swallowing following laryngectomy surgery. Over the years the format and content has been refined for our predominately speech pathology audience to ensure it remains contemporary and meets current needs”
As for the future, the team hopes that the workshop will again be held face to face, at least for some participants.
“We have learnt a lot from hosting the workshop online that will be useful for us in the future.
“An online presence is complimentary for this kind of professional development so it would be great to incorporate this for future events.”