Local services benefit from student projects

17 OCTOBER 2014

A one day conference in Albury will feature CSU student projects designed to improve the lives of community members through preventative strategies in speech pathology.

A one day conference in Albury will feature Charles Sturt University (CSU) student projects designed to improve the lives of community members through preventative strategies in speech pathology.

The final year speech pathology students from CSU's School of Community Health , based in Albury-Wodonga, collaborated with eight regional services to develop and implement sustainable resources and intervention programs for members of the Albury-Wodonga community.

 Dr Ruth Beecham.Conference coordinator and CSU speech pathology lecturer Dr Ruth Beecham said that while carrying out these projects, CSU students became more aware of the need for reliable and effective communication between regional services and the local community.

"The conference will showcase the skills and knowledge our students have gained in the past four years to benefit organisations in Albury-Wodonga," Dr Beecham said.

Among the organizations to receive support from the CSU students were:

Junction Support Services

Junction Support Services provides fully staffed residential housing for youths aged 12-17 who have been removed from their homes under Child Protection Orders. These youths have come to Junction as they have not been able to be placed in foster on kinship care for one reason or another.

Four 4th year Speech Pathology students have been working with Junction Support Services since mid July 2014. There is a strong evidence link between trauma and language delay. As a result there is a high demand in these services for intervention and assistance, with consideration of the many complexities associated with the population involved.

The project, developed in collaboration with house managers at Junction, focused on developing a training package to support staff working with young people in residential care who may have communication difficulties.

Rural Allied Health Team - Parkinson's Group

Working with the Speech Pathologist in the Rural Allied Health Team at Wodonga Hospital, four CSU students determined services that might be acceptable to people with chronic degenerative conditions such as Parkinson's disease in rural North Eastern Victoria.

After attending Parkinson's support groups in Wodonga and Beechworth and contacting other local support agencies, the students discovered a need for voice intervention that was not too tiring, as well as providing education regarding mindfulness, energy conservation, swallowing and falls prevention.

As a result, the students developed, trialed and distributed an education package in the region to help people in isolated circumstances with chronic conditions to develop skills and abilities to manage the progression of their conditions.

Lutheran Aged Care

Final year Speech Pathology students collaborated with Lutheran Aged Care in Albury to identify and address the mealtime needs of residents with dementia. The students found that staff need education about the signs of dysphagia and meals needed to be changed.

The students then developed a training module for managers, kitchen staff and resident carers outlining why and how foods and fluids could be modified, and potential consequences if food was not modified.

The students were also aware of the need for more reliable and effective communication between all levels of care for residents, particularly the specific and complex needs of aged residents with dementia when developing menus and mealtime strategies to ensure their safety and well-being.

The 2014 Speech Pathology Conference will commence at 9 am on Monday 20 October at the UNSW Clinical School, 559 East St (behind the Albury Base Hospital), East Albury.
Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews before and during the conference.

The guest speaker for the conference will be Ms. Sally Matheson who will speak on the speech awareness of pre-school children and how this affects their preparations for school.

Media contacts during the conference include:

Conference comment: Dr Ruth Beecham on 0447 5745 758, and student representative Ms Justine Waite on 0417 236 650.

Junction Support Services project: JSS Clients Service Manager Ms Janine Lawler on 02 6043 7470, and CSU student representative Ms Jayemin Barry on 0447 696 765 or send an email.

Albury-Wodonga Health project: RuralSpeech PathologistMsAlys Cummings on (02) 6051 7440, mobile 0428 299 097 or send an email, and CSU student representativeMsSophie Griffin on 0408 213 833 or send an email.

 Lutheran Aged Care project: Manager, Dellacourt site, Lutheran Aged Care, Ms Sheree Sherridan on (02) 6042 1100 or send an email, and CSU student representative Ms Bec Healy on 0418 620 484 or send an email.

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