Losing the ability to talk after cancer treatment can be frightening. And when you can’t get the specialist support you need, it’s tougher still. But a pioneering new telemedicine service in rural South West and Mid Wales is helping people find their voice again.
We spoke to Sali Curtis, a Macmillan Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, to find out more.
‘The project means people with head and neck cancers don’t have to travel to Swansea’s Singleton Hospital for speech and language therapy anymore. They can have a consultation with me via video conferencing at their local hospital instead,’ says Sali.
The innovative service is funded by Macmillan in partnership with Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board and Hywel Dda University Health Board. Previously people in these areas had to travel two hours each way for appointments, which was costly and tiring.
During their video consultation, patients are accompanied by Danna Jones, a Macmillan Specialist Speech and Language Therapist from the Hywel Dda University Health Board. Sali and Danna work together to make sure everyone who needs it gets their vital support.
‘We see people early on after their cancer diagnosis. We give them exercises to do to build up their muscles in their mouth and throat before they start their radiotherapy treatment or undergo surgery,’ says Sali. ‘The most rewarding aspect of our role is the motivated and inspiring attitudes of the people we support.’
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