COVID-19 Update for Adapt Healthcare

The following actions have occurred, in order to manage the risk in regards to the delivery of allied health services, during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Client, Therapist, and Administration education, via email, telephone, and face-to-face, continues to occur to ensure up to date, and current information, is understood and shared regarding:
– infection control procedures and guidelines;
– hand hygiene;
– use of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE);
– effective screening/triage of staff and clients;
– service delivery options, including Telehealth.

Our Administration team is conducting screening questions via phone, prior to every scheduled client/therapist interaction. This process includes therapists conducting a follow-up questionnaire upon presentation with the client, to ensure no changes in the clients health or well-being have occurred – this includes rescheduling of any symptomatic clients until healthy, and referring for testing where appropriate.

All therapist are in possession of appropriate PPE packs, and understand their requirement and how to use them.  Sourcing of these PPE items continues to occur, to ensure a stockpile is in place, to enable business continuity.

Telehealth services have been implemented, with procedures having recently been developed to ensure consistency in the delivery of services.  This includes detailed education being conducted to assist with both therapist and client uptake, particularly with a view to prioritising this type of service delivery model.

Adapt Healthcare is now using Telehealth!

Adapt Health Care is excited to announce that we are now able to run Telehealth sessions for our clients, their families and their support teams. Due to Government’s current recommendation encouraging social distancing, Adapt Health Care has put measures in place to ensure we are able to maintain the safest forms of therapy for both our clients and our therapists. Our allied health team are now able to complete your appointments via phone, video conferencing (zoom) or email.

What do you need to complete Telehealth?

There are a number of different forms of Telehealth including over the phone sessions, video conferencing sessions (zoom), email sessions, check-ins over the phone and online video recorded sessions. At Adapt we are using a range of different types of Telehealth to meet the individuals needs. The therapist will help determine which type is most suitable for you.

To participate in Telehealth you will need:

  • A suitable digital device (e.g. phone, iPad, laptop, desktop computer)
    Internet connection – if you are wanting to complete video conference sessions or email based sessions.
  • Webcam – this can be built in, like your phone, ipad or laptop might have or may be a separate camera that you attach to your computer. This is only needed if wanting to access video conferencing sessions.

What is Telehealth?

Telehealth services use information and communications technologies to deliver health services and transmit health information to people that are in a different location to their allied health therapist. It can include phone calls, video calls, video conferencing (zoom), emails and sharing of videos and pictures between you and your therapist.

I have the appropriate device for Telehealth but I don’t know how to set it up?

Your therapist will be able to talk you through how to set up your device to be able to access Telehealth. We have also included a handout on how to access the Zoom video conferencing software if you are wanting to commence video conferencing/video sessions. This software is free and easy to use.

What if I cannot attend Telehealth?

We are still offering face to face therapy. To ensure this therapy is safe our team is following every government guideline in regards to infection & hygiene control, these include:
A screening questionnaire which our team will conduct over the phone before your sessions as well as repeated at the start of your session to ensure you and your therapist is healthy.
Each therapist has the required personal protection equipment to manage COVID-19 such as face masks, gloves, gowns and protective glasses.
We are also following strict hygiene control with effective hand washing & cleaning practises.
I would like to start Telehealth, how do I let my therapist know?

Please contact your therapist directly or email our administration team on info@adapthealthcare.com.au and let them know that you are wanting to start using Telehealth.

Understanding the benefits of speech pathology for older adults

As people age, their speech, language, memory, voice and swallowing changes naturally.

Communication or swallowing disorders can also be caused by stroke or developing a condition such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

Communication Problems 

Communication problems experienced by older adults may be caused by neurological disorders such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

Communication problems can include difficulties to speaking (expressive language) as well as difficulties in understanding written and spoken language (receptive language).

Swallowing Problems 

Swallowing disorders (dysphagia) may affect as much as 22% of people aged 50 and over.

Swallowing disorders have a nutritional, emotional and social impact for the person and their family. If dysphagia is left untreated or not managed properly, it may result in chest infection, malnutrition, dehydration, weight loss, and in serious cases, death.

Signs of swallowing difficulties includes:

  • coughing when swallowing
  • a wet or gurgly voice during or after eating or drinking
  • extra time or effort needed to chew or swallow
  • recurring chest infections
  • unexplained weight loss.

How can we help?

Adapt Health Care speech pathologists are experts in the assessment and management of communication and swallowing disorders. They work with older Australians in their own home to promote independence, participation and quality of life.

For more information or to book an appointment with an Adapt Health Care speech pathologist, call 1800 085 030.

Tips for communicating with older adults

  • Understand the person’s communication strengths and weaknesses. Go slowly and allow extra time – particularly for more complex discussions
  • Sit face-to-face and communicate at eye level
  • Hold conversations in a quiet, comfortable environment. Ensure good lighting and minimise visual and auditory distractions
  • Check that sensory aids are working, in place and turned on (e.g. hearing aids, glasses)
  • Speak clearly and stick to one topic at a time
  • Repeat, summarise and/or write down important points or pieces of information
  • Simplify instructions or use pictures and gestures to illustrate your message
  • Provide the opportunity for the person to ask questions or seek clarification
  • Watch carefully for non-verbal cues during conversation and caregiving tasks
  • Acknowledge and respond to communication breakdowns or frustration
  • Make signs, brochures and forms accessible for people with vision and communication difficulties
  • Use greetings and touch appropriately to connect and ensure the person is relaxed and comfortable
  • Involve older adults with communication difficulties in supported conversation and decisions about their care and activities
  • Draw upon the person’s life history, former interests and familiar topics to support and stimulate conversation
  • Find time to communicate and connect on a regular basis

The importance of speech pathology for children

Speech pathologists study, diagnose and treat communication disorders, including difficulties with speech, language, fluency and voice. Early intervention by a speech pathologist, especially for children, is important to understand, improve and overcome communication and/or swallowing difficulties.

A speech pathologist will assess your child’s level of ability in:

  • speech (pronunciation)
  • language (understanding and using words and sentences)
  • stuttering
  • literacy (reading and writing)
  • social skills
  • listening and auditory processing
  • voice
  • swallowing

A speech pathologist will work with you and your child to design a program to help your child develop the skills and abilities that is needed for improvement.

Warning signs of speech or language problems in children

  • you/others having difficulty in understanding your child
  • people thinking your child is younger than they are because of the way he/she speaks
  • your child is being teased or showing frustration because of the way he/she talks
  • your child is using fewer words than other children his/her age
  • your child stutters
  • your child’s interactions or play seems unusual or inappropriate
  • your child is struggling with reading or writing
  • there is a diagnosis that could affect speech or language such as hearing loss, auditory processing disorder, autism spectrum disorder or developmental delay

If your school aged child is showing signs of avoiding speech or getting frustrated because he/she is having trouble understanding or communicating, it might be time to book an appointment to get an assessment by a speech pathologist.

How your child’s speech and language develops

Here’s a rough guide to how a child’s speech and language skills should be developing:

18 months’ old

  • Can say ‘no’
  • Uses 10 or more words
  • Understands the names of familiar objects (e.g. ‘doggy’, ‘ball’, ‘bed’, ‘car’)
  • Answers the question “what’s this?”
  • Understands simple commands

Two years’ old

  • Can use a large variety of consonants
  • Points to some body parts when named
  • Uses two-word combinations (e.g. “more biscuit”, “Daddy gone”)
  • Enjoys listening to stories
  • Can name some pictures in stories
  • Has a vocabulary of at least 50 words
  • Can sing simple songs or nursery rhymes

Three years’ old

  • Correctly produces the sounds made by the letters p, b, m, w, t, d, n, g, h, y
  • Pronounces the final consonant in a word
  • Is able to follow a two-part instruction (e.g. “Go to the kitchen and get your juice”)
  • Can participate in short conversations
  • Puts three or more words together in a sentence
  • Asks “why?”
  • Can talk about something that happened yesterday or last week
  • Is using basic grammar

Four years’ old

  • Talks in whole sentences
  • Uses adult-like grammar
  • Asks a lot of questions
  • Answers “who”, “how”, “how many” questions
  • Tells stories you can easily follow
  • Uses language to create imaginative pretend play with others

Five years’ old

  • Explains how an object can be used
  • Answers ‘when’ and ‘why’ questions
  • Uses language to talk about past and future events
  • Participates in detailed conversations
  • Has little trouble thinking of what to say
  • Is not having too many difficulties learning to read

How can we help?

If your child is experiencing any of the warning signs listed above, we advise you to book an appointment to see a speech pathologist.

At Adapt Health Care, our speech pathologists will work with you and your child to develop a plan to improve and develop their communication skills and abilities. Our speech pathologists are able to work in the home and in a child’s kindergarten or school environment. If you prefer to visit our clinic, we have two clinics located in Buderim and Gympie.

For more information or to book an appointment with an Adapt Health Care speech pathologist, call 1800 085 030.

 

Frequently asked questions

Could my child just catch up eventually and grow out of a speech disorder?

Some speech disorders can persist well into teenage and adult life. When a person is older, it is much more difficult to correct these problems. Most children with a diagnosed speech disorder will need speech therapy.

What causes speech difficulties?

In most children, there is no known cause for speech disorders. In some, the disorder may be due to a structural problem or from imitating behaviours and the creation of bad habits. Regardless of the cause, your child’s speech therapist will be able to assist with the recommended treatment.

Anxiety In Children & Adolescents

Learn how to spot anxiety in your child & tools for how you can best support them.

One in ten children and adolescents experience anxiety at a level which causes them to have problems doing things (e.g. going to school, trying new things, hanging out with friends, or performing their best). Knowing when to get help for your child can be tough. Worrying is both normal and helpful, which is one of the reasons why knowing when it has become a problem can be tricky. Anxiety comes in all different shapes and sizes. Here are a few of the most common types of anxiety that we see in kids and teens:

  • Separation Anxiety – Characterised by excessive worry and distress when separated from ones’ caregiver in routine or familiar situations (e.g. school or going to a friend’s house).
  • Social Phobia – Characterised by excessive fear of negative evaluation or being the centre of attention in social
  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder – Characterised by excessive and persistent worry regarding several routine things (e.g. doing well at school, not getting into trouble, always being on time, being a good friend, world events, etc).
  • Specific Phobia – Characterised by excessive worry about a specific object or situation (e.g. high places, needles, dogs, the dark, etc).
  • School Refusal – While not a disorder on its own, it can occur as a result of any of the

Doesn’t Everybody Worry?

Yes, everyone gets anxious, and it is both normal and helpful. However, for some, anxiety becomes unhelpful and stops them from doing things. For these kids, anxiety happens more often, more easily, and more strongly.

Worry becomes unhelpful when it…

  • is out of proportion

Jenny worries about failing her maths exam despite never receiving a mark less than 90% on previous exams. She worries so much that she feels sick in the stomach, and has trouble falling asleep for three weeks before the exam.

  • is more than most

Alex worries about something bad happening to his parents when they’re not together. He worries so much that he cannot go to sleep unless his mum stays with him. Sometimes it takes him a couple hours to fall asleep, and even then, he gets very upset if he wakes up when she’s not there.

  • interferes with life

Josh is afraid of dogs and it’s getting in the way of him spending time with his friends and family. Josh can’t go to his best friend’s birthday party because he knows a dog will be there. He has also refused to go on the family holiday because he has heard there might be dogs there.

Recognising Anxiety Disorders In Kids & Teens

Here are a few signs to look for if you’re worried your child or teen might have an anxiety disorder:

  • Often asks reassurance questions (e.g. “Is this right?”)
  • Stomach aches or headaches
  • Distress if a mistake is made or when routine changes
  • Disobedience or aggression to avoid feared situations
  • Avoids unfamiliar situations – They may become sick or not turn up (e.g. school camps or excursions)
  • Appears unhappy – Can always find a potential danger in a situation
  • Distress regarding school despite no apparent difficulties

Why Treat Anxiety Disorders? Don’t Kids Just Grow Out Of It?

Anxiety left untreated can lead to low confidence, missed opportunities, and even depression. The good news is that there are things you can do to reduce worries and fears. In fact, everyone can benefit from learning skills to cope with anxiety.

When To Seek Help

  • If the stress or anxiety symptoms seem much more than peers
  • If stress or anxiety is leading to avoidance of important activities
  • If stress or anxiety is causing a lot of distress and/or interfering with daily activities and/or general life goals

Parents – How Can You Help?

  • Supportive listening
  • Encourage young people to talk by listening
  • Empathise with their feelings
  • Beware of role modelling
  • Expectations and criticisms
  • Role model ‘imperfectionism’
  • Reinforce positive behaviours
  • Give more attention to what you want to see
  • Foster independence
  • Assist young people with problem solving
  • When it is helpful, step in and be their advocates
  • Have fun together
  • There’s nothing more valuable than attention and love

What Now?

If you feel your child or adolescent may be suffering from an anxiety disorder, it may be best to seek support from a health professional. If you are unsure about what/who might be best able to support your child or adolescent, please give us a call or send us an email. We are more than happy to assist in getting you linked in with appropriate supports.

 

About The Author

 

About the author Teresa Martin

Exercise Physiology

By participating regularly in an exercise program designed for you by your accredited Exercise Physiologist, you can expect to improve your balance, strength, fitness and general well-being.

In addition to the exercises, an important part of our program is walking regularly. Your Exercise Physiologist will develop a walking program for you, outlining the distance to cover in your walks.

When should you refer to an Exercise Physiologist?

– Maintenance of fitness following acute physiotherapy intervention

– Lifestyle modification for clients with chronic health conditions eg diabetes, cardiac conditions, cardiopulmonary

– Difficulties with motivation or participation in exercise programs

Speech Pathology

Adapt Health Care provides clinical Speech and Language Pathologist’s who specialist in the assessment and treatment of swallowing and speech disorders associated with our aged care clients.

Speech pathologists study, diagnose and treat communication disorders, including difficulties with speaking, listening, understanding language, reading, writing, social skills, stuttering and using voice. They work with people who have difficulty communicating because of developmental delays, stroke, brain injuries, learning disability, intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, dementia and hearing loss, as well as other problems that can affect speech and language. People who experience difficulties swallowing food and drink safely can also be helped by a speech pathologist.

When should I refer to a Speech and Language Pathologist?

– Difficulties swallowing. Some clients my experience muscle weakness that makes clearing food and drink difficult.

– Difficulties with memory

– Difficulties with receptive (understanding) and expressive (talking) language

– Following a medical event where speech and cognition has been affected such as; Stroke or brain injury

-Degenerative neurological conditions that are affecting abilities to swallow or speak – such as; Motor Neurone Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsons Disease

Psychology

Our psychologists have a minimum clinical master’s level training and extensive range of clinical experience working with children, adolescents and adults.

Individual therapy sessions are usually 1 hour in length. During the first session, a thorough assessment will be conducted to allow for the development of a treatment plan. This plan will be developed in collaboration with the patient and reviewed through-out the duration of treatment.

Areas of expertise and interest:

  • Grief and loss
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Alcohol and drug dependence
  • Gambling and sex related impulse disorders
  • Disabilities and developmental disorders including, autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Chronic health conditions such as, chronic fatigue, pain and cancer
  • Relationship and family issues

Our psychologists are registered with Medicare and can provide services to medicare eligible clients.

To receive treatment through Medicare a patient must be referred by a GP, psychiatrist or paediatrician. The referring specialist must complete a detailed mental health assessment and prepare a Mental Health Care Plan before referring to a psychologist. A copy will be made of the Mental Health Plan prior to the initial therapy session.

Eligible patient can generally receive up to 12 individual services each calendar year. The referring doctor must assess the progress after the first six sessions.

We also offer home visits to most areas on the Sunshine Coast for those unable to make it to the clinic.