The Speech-Language Institute (SLI) of Salus University, in conjunction with the University’s Continuing Education department, recently wrapped up a three-part series of interdisciplinary workshops for patients, speech-language pathologists and other healthcare providers. Registrants came from as close as Philadelphia and surrounding suburbs, to as far as West Virginia and Delaware.
The first workshop, attended by 24 registrants, focused on intervention and treatment strategies for clients dealing with the effects of Parkinson’s disease. The class was taught by Josefa Domingos, a trained physiotherapist from Radboud University Centre in the Netherlands and John M. Dean, MA, CCC-SLP, a speech-language pathologist & Parkinson’s disease specialist from Portugal.
Participating clinicians were given the opportunity to demonstrate their newly acquired therapy skills on volunteer patients.
“There was the actual workshop portion where we learned various skills then there was the patient portion, where clients came in and we were able to put into practice the skills that we learned,” said Robert Serianni, MS, CCC-SLP, director of SLI.
The second workshop, with 31 registrants, brought together speech-language pathologists, healthcare providers, students, educators, patients who have undergone larynx surgery (laryngectomies) and their caregivers.
The workshop was led by Amy Lustig, PhD, CCC-SLP, assistant professor and facilitator of Speakeasy - SLI's support group for laryngectomy and throat cancer survivors and their caregivers. The day-long class featured patient centered presentations on innovative treatment options and a panel discussion where head and neck cancer survivors spoke firsthand about their experiences.
“Our presenters shared information and personal insights on handling the consequences of head/neck cancer and managing communication and swallowing during and after treatment,” said Lustig.
The series wrapped up with one final workshop and 25 registrants, taught by representatives from Abington-Jefferson Health. The class focused on assessment skills needed to treat patients with dysphagia – difficulty swallowing - and other swallowing disorders.
Along with patient videos, attendees were also introduced to a newly developed app that would allow for more thorough and concise evaluations of clients/patients under the premise that evaluations mean better care.
All three workshops provided attendees with hands-on skills and gave patients the opportunity to share their experiences.
“In all, I would say that these series of workshops proved to be very successful and it was a two-fold benefit,” said Serianni. “Our clients were involved in sharing their personal stories and our SLPs gained enhanced knowledge to provide even better care.”
The success of this series has already led to the development of a similar program in the near future.