Staff Spotlight: Rita

Rita SP

As part of Parkinson’s Awareness Month, we are honouring our talented clinicians and the work they do every day for people with Parkinson’s disease. We spent some time with Rita, Speech Pathologist at Royal Rehab Private Hospital, to discuss what a typical day in the life is like for her, how she is helping our clients and her top tips for living well with Parkinson’s.

So Rita, tell us your experience to date.

I have been at Royal Rehab for 8 months and for the last 5 years I have worked across various tertiary hospitals with neurology, stroke and aged care as my predominant caseloads (Nepean Hospital, Concord Hospital, RPAH/Royal Prince Alfred etc).

What is a typical day in your role like?

My typical day as a speech pathologist is assessing and managing clients who have swallowing and communication difficulties. It requires a lot of walking between wards to manage inpatients and outpatients. I get the opportunity to use a lot of technology in therapy for swallowing and communication such as EMST (Expiratory muscle strength training), applications on iPads and sEMG (Surface electromyography). I love that I get to know clients and their families to work on real goals like having a coffee with a friend without awkward coughing fits or being able to tell a family member that you love them.

What is your experience with helping people with PD?

I have extensive experience working with people with PD for both swallowing and communication impairments. I am LSVT certified which means I can provide this evidence-based loud voice therapy to those with PD. I love that I can empower people with a voice that they can use confidently and ensure they’re understood by others. I make sure that what we do in therapy can change the way they live. For example, having clients use a loud voice to order their lunch at a restaurant by themselves. This also alleviates the burden from their family or carers. After a block of therapy with myself, it’s not good-bye. We transition to a maintenance group (newly established service) which runs monthly to assist with keeping their newfound voice!

What are your tips for living well with PD?

Keep using your voice well and stay hydrated! I hear too often people recede from their usual social activities because ‘no one can hear them’. I want to encourage those who have PD and are struggling to maintain their voice in their daily activities, to please seek help from your medical professionals and Speech Pathologists because there is help!

To enquire about our Parkinson’s programs, contact us today on (02) 9808 9222 today.

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