IMPROVING COMMUNICATION AT HOME
St Luke’s Hospital is offering speech therapy through video technology to help clients with communication impairments. Such difficulties may arise, for example, because of stroke, brain injury or neurological diseases.
Many clients are seniors and would be especially vulnerable to COVID-19. All over Singapore, certain services were deferred or reduced to lower the risk of COVID-19 infection. Tele-treatment allows patients to stay home and stay safe while receiving therapy.
One client is Mr Quek, 62, who had a stroke last Christmas. After an operation and care in several hospitals, he was referred to St Luke’s Hospital for rehabilitation as he has aphasia (acquired communication impairment).
His wife, Mrs Quek, signed him up for the service. “I thought it is better than not having any rehabilitation at all,” she said.
Mrs Quek was happy with tele-treatment. If Mr Quek had to leave home, he would need a wheelchair “and transport is challenging and costly”, she said. “Tele-treatment has helped us save time and money,” in addition to being able to stay safe at home.
Mrs Quek helped to facilitate during tele-treatment. This allowed her “to learn how to practise with him on the days when no sessions are scheduled”. Her husband is making some progress. “Now, he is able to say some words,” said Mrs Quek.
Senior speech therapist Voon Siew Wei said, “With tele-treatment, I can provide higher therapy intensity to clients to improve their communication.” She tapped her creativity to help clients who have difficulty speaking. For example, they could communicate using the annotation tool in the video software. Annotation can be as simple as drawing a dash or a circle to make choices or share thoughts.
Tele-treatment has been part of the hospital’s day rehabilitation speech therapy service even before the COVID-19 outbreak.
Said Siew Wei, “It was not easy to adopt the concept of therapy through video conferencing as it requires a mindset change. With COVID-19, more clients are willing to try. I am happy that our clients are still able to receive treatment despite having to stay at home.”
Clients may receive AIC subvention, based on means-testing, to determine eligibility and subvention level.
For more information, please contact our day rehabilitation centre at 6895 3205.