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Allied Health Blog

Insights and tips from our Allied Health team, which includes physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology, social work, psychology, nutrition and dietetics and podiatry. 

  • Safe activity for everybody this Falls Prevention Week

    The following blog is written by Libby Tiller, a Senior Clinician, Occupational Therapist in the Falls Prevention Service.

    Why does intervention make such a big difference?

    There are many causes for falls, but the risk can be modified by putting in interventions.

    A comprehensive assessment with a plan to address all the risk factors can help people stay healthy and prevent falls and injury due to falls. Being proactive and doing simple things such as exercising, making the environment safe, eating well and having medications reviewed among other things, can help people stay safe and healthy.

    Although falls are common in older people, the good news is that they are not inevitable – falls can be prevented.

    What are the impacts of falls on those vulnerable?

    Unfortunately falls can have a major impact on older people, who are in the most vulnerable group. In fact, 1 in 3 people over 65 fall ...

  • Pain: Finding the Way Forward with Psychology

    This blog is written by Luke Parrott, Clinical Psychologist, Persistent Pain Management Service, Peninsula Health. 

    With more than one in five people experiencing persistent pain it is quite likely that either you or someone you know suffers with it. Pain that goes on long after the tissues of the body are expected to heal following an injury or that seemingly appears out of nowhere and continues on without any discernible triggering incident can be both perplexing and troubling for the sufferer.

    Most commonly, and understandably, people will consult medical professionals to investigate the source of pain and seek interventions to fix it.

    With acute pain this can be effective, however, the evidence tells us that when pain persists the strategies employed to help people with acute pain – rest, medications, surgeries, and other tissue-based interventions – are frequently ineffective on their own and all too often a vicious cycle ...

  • Communicating confidently during Covid-19

    This blog is written by Peninsula Health Speech Pathologist Sharon Flitman. 

    As for everyone, 2020 has been a disruptive year in the Speech Pathology world.

    Working with adult populations, much of our work involves ‘aerosol generating procedures’ – tasks that induce coughing, singing, and voice projection – which are no-go zones in the current coronavirus climate.

    Other assessments and therapies are impossible to provide while wearing masks.

    Masked mouths are not conducive to conducting swallowing assessments. Nor is it so easy to deliver ‘masked’ therapy for apraxia of speech, which often requires a person to watch their own mouth in a mirror, or watch the therapist’s mouth as a model.

    But fortunately, the COVID cloud has a silver lining for 'Speechies'.

    For those open to embracing technology, the unusual current context has provided an opportunity to explore the previously unchartered waters of telehealth. And for some of our patients and clients, this ...

  • Faces of Peninsula Health – Q&A with Kira

    Kira is a new graduate Grade 1 Speech Pathologist at Peninsula Health.

    Q: What was your first job in speech pathology?

    A: A 3 month fixed term contract as a Grade 1 Speech Pathologist in the Children’s Team, Community Health.

    Q: What job do you have now?

    A: A full time 1 year contract as a Grade 1 Speech Pathologist in the Children’s Team, Community Health. 

    Q: What do you like the most about the team?

    A: How willing everyone in the team is to chat about challenging clients and share strategies/give advice.   

    Q: What is the best benefit of working here?

    A: Being so involved in a multidisciplinary team, where I am constantly learning about other areas of practice and how interconnected they are to mine. 

    Q: What is the best compliment you have received?

    A: I currently work two days of outreach based in a kindergarten. The head ...

  • Communicating with confidence

    This blog is written by Peninsula Health Speech Pathologist Sharon Flitman (pictured above). 

    Imagine thinking that everyone around you is deaf.

    For many people with Parkinson’s disease, this is a daily reality. Not because people with Parkinson’s have a higher proportion of hearing-impaired friends and relatives, of course. Rather, Parkinson’s disease simultaneously softens speech and stuffs up the brain’s perception of speech loudness.

    As such, people with Parkinson’s often feel as though they are ‘shouting’ when speaking at an entirely normal volume. And to avoid shouting, they speak at a level that seems normal to them; generally too muted for others to hear.

    Fortunately, effective evidence-based treatments exist to pump up the power in people with Parkinson’s voices and ‘recalibrate’ their perception of their own speech volume.

    Lee-Silverman Voice Therapy is one such tool. This structured speech program involves intensive almost daily sessions for four consecutive weeks. And to accommodate the ...

  • Hand therapy helping John get back on the Lawn Mower

    Occupational Therapist Angela Ferrarin with John at a hand therapy session.

    This blog is written by Angela Ferrarin, Occupational Therapist, Acute Hand Therapy, Peninsula Health. 

    John sustained a complex injury after attempting to clean the blades of his ride on mower. His right middle finger was partially amputated on his dominant hand. The next day he had plastic surgery to repair arteries, nerves, tendons and ligaments, surrounding his joint.

    John has been seeing the hand therapy team at Peninsula Health for a few months to regain his function. Initially treatment involved custom made splinting to protect the length and integrity of his soft tissues and allow for skin healing.  Once healing allowed we commenced a home program; therapy sessions began to restore range of movement and manage issues like joint stiffness, scar adhesion and contracture.  Throughout his care John requried modifications to his splint to ...

  • Dysphagia – a difficult diagnosis to swallow!

    This blog is written by Peninsula Health Speech Pathologist and Team Leader Kate Rennie.

    Most Australians are unaware how difficulty with swallowing can be frightening and life threatening. It’s why on Wednesday 13 March 2019, I want to promote Swallowing Awareness Day.

    The theme for Swallowing Awareness Day in 2019 is: ‘Dysphagia. A difficult diagnosis to swallow!’

    I work in the Allied Health Outreach team within Community Health (previously known as Domiciliary Care).  I love that my job takes me into people’s homes where I get to learn so much about their lives and stories and what they usually eat.  The people I work with have a range of conditions that affect their swallowing and communication; depending on the cause, I can help someone to improve their swallowing or to manage a chronic difficulty.

    Swallowing Awareness Day is an opportunity to bring attention to swallowing ...

  • What does an OT Occupational Therapist do?

    The following blog is written by Peninsula Health Occupational Therapist Lauren Wood.

    My name is Lauren, and I am a Grade 1 Occupational Therapist in the rotation program at Peninsula Health. I have been a part of the rotation program since I was a new graduate, and have just completed my fourth rotation in Community Health as part of the Domiciliary (DOM) Care team.

    Before I completed this rotation, I thought I knew the basics of home modifications. I have worked in subacute at The Mornington Centre in previous rotations, and as part of that we would do home assessments to make sure our patients would be safe to go home. We would recommend a range of interventions – from equipment, such as a shower stool or bath transfer bench so patients could wash themselves safely, to grab rails at stairs so patients were at lower risk ...

  • How physios help people recover from stroke

    Physiotherapist Evelyn with Toni, who is recovering from a stroke.

    The following blog was written by David McKenzie, Physiotherapist, Frankston Community Rehabilitation Program, Golf Links Road Rehabilitation Centre.  

    Recovering from a stroke can be an immense challenge.  From complete independence: going to work; running a household; gardening; travelling, playing sport; driving a car, to lying in a hospital bed: unable to move one side of the body; unable to make oneself understood; requiring assistance to go to the toilet. Stroke has the capacity to change a person’s life in an instant.

    Many aspects of a person’s life are made easier when we are up and walking about and able to use both hands and arms to complete normal daily tasks. Helping recover these abilities is the role of the physiotherapist and occupational therapist, as part of the wider team caring for this person. ...

  • Aphasia – the Invisible Impairment

    The following blog is written by Peninsula Health speech pathologist Hannah Sanderson (pictured). 

    At Frankston Hospital, our Speech Pathology Department helps our patients in many different ways. We provide assessment and management of patients with swallowing impairments, laryngectomies, tracheostomies and communication impairments.

    Communication impairments can occur for a number of reasons. Frequently, we see a number of different communication impairments with our patients who present to Frankston Hospital with a stroke.

    At Frankston Hospital, we have a fantastic team of dedicated clinicians working together to help our stroke patients. A stroke is commonly recognised in the community as something that causes people to have trouble walking or using their arms. However, a stroke can also cause what’s referred to as an ‘invisible impairment’ by Speech Pathologists, this being Aphasia.

    Aphasia is a condition that is not widely known in the community. It is one of the complex communication disorders that ...