Community out patient access to SLT via Tele-Rehabilitation in East and Mid Lothian
This was a feasibility trial for assessing the use of Microsoft Office Communicator System (OCS) for speech and language therapy (SLT). The service was between the stroke specialist, speech and language therapist, based at Astley Ainslie Hospital in Edinburgh – to patients, who accessed the service at a choice of two community hospitals approximately 30 minutes from the centre.
Communication partner volunteers from Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland (CHSS) have been trained to be with the patient at the community hospital end. In addition to providing conversation support the volunteer facilitated the video consultation by setting up the optimum seating and microphone site for the patient. They were also responsible for switching on the PC and accessing the VC software.
Evaluation comments form CHSS community partner volunteers:-
“I enjoyed the experience and felt I learned a lot too. It was good to be able to support someone with aphasia to access therapy in a way which was convenient for them.”
“I felt the volunteer’s presence and input is a very positive one, helping both the client and the Speech & Language Therapist by anticipating support needs with the exercises.”
Prior to the trial in May 2011, CHSS volunteers and CHSS management representatives took part in a focus group, along with SLT’s, stroke patients, carers and families, this was facilitated by the SCTT. The focus group provided a positive start to the trial, with the general consensus that telehealth should be trialled for this purpose. The outcome of the focus group and the initial trial will be presented at the UK Stroke Forum 2011 by Mark Smith, Consultant AHP in NHS Lothian and Michelle Brogan, Stroke Specialist SLT and clinical lead for the trial poster with summary of SLT telestroke development.
The results of the trial were positive, although it was acknowledged that OCS was not the optimum technical solution. The evaluation can be viewed here. A PowerPoint presentation was given at the UK Stroke Forum, which can be found here.