Western Downs kids supported through Health-e-Regions
AN INNOVATIVE program bringing allied health services into schools across the Western Downs has reached a major milestone.
For the past five years, Health-e-Regions has been connecting primary students needing additional support to specialists at the University of Queensland, via videoconference.
Health students and clinical educators provide lessons targeting the individual needs of each student, including speech language, audiology or occupational therapy.
Amie Pearce, whose son Cody has been linking with speech pathologists since the start of the year, said the continuity of the sessions, delivered at school in Wandoan, was a central part of the success she had seen in her little boy.
“Cody loves school and being in the school environment. He’s in the sessions with the teachers and staff, who continue doing what he does in those sessions in the classroom,” Ms Pearce said.
Ms Pearce said, originally she didn’t have ‘high hopes’ for Cody entering the program, as he hadn’t fully engaged in previous face-to-face speech therapy sessions - but she was proven wrong.
“He looks forward to doing this, and the program is just fantastic… it’s overwhelming to have a service that’s just there,” she said.
So far, more than 450 students from five schools have benefited from this unique outreach model, and the program has just reached the 3,000th consult milestone – equating to 135,000 minutes of direct support.
The impact of COVID-19 has put Health-e-Regions at the forefront of thinking around how future allied health services can be delivered to remote locations.
The program also removes the need for families to travel hundreds of kilometres to access specialist services.
The program is a partnership between Shell’s QGC business and the University of Queensland’s Centre for Online Health.