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Airedale Hospital pilots telemedicine video link
State-of-the-art technology at Airedale Hospital which allows patients to receive treatment without having to visit hospital is being used to help a woman with Parkinson’s Disease.
Ruth Pickles is taking part in a pilot programme, in which a special form of intensive treatment is delivered to her in the comfort of her own home.
She will be the speech and language therapy team’s first patient to have Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) using the hospital’s “telemedicine” secure video link.
The treatment is designed to help patients speak louder.
Most people with Parkinson’s Disease have problems with speech. This includes speaking in a very soft voice, even when the patient is making the same amount of effort to speak.
Ruth, 60, who lives at Embsay, can receive the treatment at home because she is able to hear and see her speech and language therapist, Debra Borsley, on a computer screen.
Debra said: “Initially I was sceptical as I couldn’t imagine how it would work so well remotely. It’s been such an uplifting experience for both of us as we can see progress so quickly.
“Ruth is doing so well, better than I could ever have imagined. She has become more animated and is gaining confidence.”
A spokesman for Airedale Hospital said: “The LSVT programme has real benefits for patients, but is costly to deliver, especially if the patient is brought into hospital by ambulance or a therapist has to travel to their home.
“Delivering it remotely is much more convenient, saving both the patient and therapist time and money. However, it is still labour-intensive.
“At the end of the project the speech and language therapy team will examine the evidence to see whether it can be rolled out to other patients.”
Currently 1,000 patients across Airedale Hospital’s catchment area are linked to the Telehealth Hub, including those with chronic heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes.
Telemedicine is now being used by 18 nursing homes across the Bradford district and three in Craven.
Manorlands cancer-care hospice, at Oxenhope, is also linked up, as are six GP surgeries.
Meanwhile, a telemedicine community hub is available in Grassington where patients can have an outpatient consultation via a secure video link.