Joondalup Health Campus
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Joondalup Health Campus helping stroke patients regain their voice

Feb 01, 2014

Stroke patients at Joondalup Health Campus can now participate in the national Very Early Rehabilitation in Speech (VERSE) project – Australia's largest clinical trial in aphasia rehabilitation in stroke.

Patients affected by the loss of language ability – aphasia – following a stroke can find recovery very challenging. Aphasia can leave stroke survivors feeling socially isolated and unable to communicate by restricting talking, understanding speech, reading and writing.

Aphasia has been shown to benefit greatly from very early intervention and therapy with positive results shown in previous studies. The VERSE project will further investigate the benefits of very early aphasia intervention in stroke recovery and will study the effects of intensive therapy at 12 weeks and 26 weeks post-stroke.

Karen Mews, Speech Pathology Manager at Joondalup Health Campus, is enthusiastic about the project. "The VERSE project is the first of its kind in Australia. The project has the potential to transform the intensity and type of treatment offered to patients post-acute stroke, resulting in better outcomes for patients with aphasia and reduced length of hospital stay," Ms Mews said.

Ms Mews is excited to begin work on the trials which she believes will show very positive results for patients. "Stroke patients suffering from aphasia can experience a slow and difficult recovery. Intensive speech therapy can improve a patient's language ability from speaking in single words, to someone speaking in whole sentences," Ms Mews said.

Led by Edith Cowan University Speech Pathology researchers, Dr Erin Godecke and Prof Beth Armstrong, the trial being conducted at Joondalup Health Campus is also occurring at 11 other sites across Australia, involving a national collaboration over three years.

JHC Speech Pathologist Erin O'Reilly with Dr Erin Godecke and Graham Ross

JHC Speech Pathologist Erin O'Reilly with Dr Erin Godecke and Graham Ross