Wednesday, December 1, 2021

New home-based voice therapy for those with Parkinson’s disease

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Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative condition after Alzheimer’s. It affects approximately 10 million people worldwide and roughly 12,000 Irish people are living with the condition which can cause mobility problems and impaired balance. Ninety per cent of those affected also experience difficulties with their voice and this is the problem being addressed by Teleatherapy, an app-based service developed by speech and language therapist Clare Meskill to give patients early access to vital voice therapy. Early interventions have been shown to help maintain the voice in those affected by Parkinson’s for up to an additional two years.

“Teleatherapy enables patients to practice their voice therapy at home, meaning they can access clinician monitored therapy without the waiting times associated with the public healthcare system and the high cost of going privately,” Meskill says. “Patients receive reminder texts and emails and a clinician will check in with them if they haven’t practised in a few days. At present there is no technological solution that provides clinicians with real-time feedback when someone practises their voice therapy at home. Teleatherapy fills this gap while also reassuring patients that their progress is being monitored by a professional.”

For now, Teleatherapy will provide the monitoring oversight. However, once the app reaches its final iteration it will be made available to the speech and language therapy community at large to use with their patients.

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