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Faces of Peninsula Health – Q&A with Elly Archer

Elly Archer at Peninsula Health

Elly Archer is a Speech Pathologist at Peninsula Health

Q: What is your current role
A: I am a full time Speech Pathologist with the Allied Health Community Adult National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Team.

Q: How long have you worked at Peninsula Health?
A: I have been with Peninsula Health for almost 4 months. Prior to this, I worked with a private company for approximately 12 months in a similar role.

Q: What do you do in your day to day role?
A: I provide speech pathology for adults who are funded by the NDIS, which can involve:

  • Supporting participants between 18 and 65 years of age.
  • Travelling to participant’s homes and/or supported facilities to provide participants with an accessible service.
  • Completing comprehensive assessments and interventions for the participant’s communication and/or swallowing goals.
  • Making appropriate referrals to additional services to ensure my participant’s health needs are well supported in all areas.
  • Writing detailed reports to document my participants’ progress and advocate for my participants to receive adequate NDIS funding for all of their health related needs.
  • Liaising with my participant’s multidisciplinary team and additional supports to ensure interventions are put in place to achieve their goals.

Q: Which NDIS participants do you work with?
A: My NDIS participants can have a range of diagnoses, which can include:

  • Acquired disabilities such as stroke and progressive diseases including motor neurone disease, parkinson’s disease, huntington’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
  • Developmental disabilities such as intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, down syndrome and cerebral palsy.

These participants can require support to:

  • Communicate effectively which can involve supporting their verbal speech, using visual aids and/or using technology (e.g. iPads);
  • Safely swallow their food, drink and/or medications which can involve introducing assistive mealtime equipment, introducing safe swallow strategies and/or providing diet recommendations.

Q: How do you help NDIS participants achieve their goals?
A: I do this in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Providing an accessible service by attending to my participant’s home, day service and/or supported accommodation.
  • Creating functional goals which relate to the participant’s daily activities to ensure their goals are realistic and achievable.
  • Creating combined goals with my participant’s multidisciplinary team to enhance progress of my participant’s goals.
  • Reducing my administration time by having exceptional organisation to ensure maximum funds are placed towards intervention time with my participants.
  • Using evidence based practice to ensure interventions relate to my participants needs.
  • Increasing my knowledge with the latest evidenced based practice and stay up to date with high-tech assistive technology options (e.g. communication devices, software, communication access, applications).

Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I enjoy working with my participants and their supports in their typical environment, as I can understand how I can enhance their ability to participate in day-to-day activities to increase their independence.

I am also grateful to work amongst my intelligent and supportive team at Peninsula Health; I enjoy coming to work every day!

Q: What is one stand-out moment or highlight from working at Peninsula Health?
A: I currently support a participant who has motor neurone disease who has now lost their ability to communicate through verbal speech.

Throughout my participant’s speech pathology care we have conducted various trials of assistive equipment to support my participant’s ability to communicate, which have included trialling different devices (e.g. iPad), computer programs (e.g. Grid 3), and various access methods such as eye gaze, switches and electromyography (EMG).

These trials have broadened my participant’s knowledge on how they can communicate without verbal speech which has given them access to their wants and needs again, increased their independence and also improved their ability to socially interact with their family and friends again, which is immensely rewarding.

Q: What do you like to do outside of work?
A: I love spending time with my friends and family, especially my new little nephew! Throughout the week I keep active by going for walks by the beach and going to my local gym. I am learning Spanish, am always listening to a Podcast. On the weekends I will most likely be at a market, out at a cafe or at a restaurant.

Q: How can people access the NDIS service you provide?
A: Please contact the Peninsula Health Access Referral Team, Monday – Friday between the hours of 8:30am and 4:30pm. They can be reached on 1300 665 781 or email, ascottreferrals@phcn.vic.gov.au.