Partnership working to transform lives in the Western Isles

The mPower team in the Western Isles recently worked in partnership with the local WI Parkinson’s Specialist NHS Nurse to support two local patients living with Parkinson’s. The aim was to reduce isolation and loneliness as well as enabling specialist consultant appointments to be carried out remotely.

Through the Scottish Government’s Connecting Scotland project, mPower was able to provide two Parkinson’s patients with iPads connected to the internet.

The first iPad was delivered to the patient by Angela MacLeod, an NHS Specialist Parkinson’s Nurse, along with Louise Anne MacDonald, mPower Community Navigator. They demonstrated how to use the iPad and also gave the patient’s family a demonstration on how to use the speech-to-text function, which helps to promote communication, understanding, assessment, and importantly consent too. The patient in question was suffering with low mood due to feelings of isolation within her family and wider community due to hearing loss, so the iPad with the speech-to-text function was likely to make a huge difference.

Speech-to-text is an inbuilt function in all ‘citizen tech’ and is fantastic for individuals who are unable to hear. It can also be used as an adjunct to other devices such as hearing aids. Whilst using this function, the device dictates as a person is speaking.  The individual with hearing loss is then able to read it and respond to what has been said verbally.

The patient has subsequently reported the tool as “fabulous” as she is now able to “hear” what has been said and is no longer being left out of conversations. 

When the local Occupational Therapy team viewed the device in use, they were so impressed with it, that the team is now hoping to use it with a number of their patients.

The second person who received an iPad specifically wanted it to allow him to attend the local Parkinson’s group, being held online and virtually by Zoom. 

Whilst previously being an inpatient at Western Isles Hospital, the ward had introduced him to the benefits of using an iPad.  The patient found this to be a huge benefit as he felt isolated and cut-off from other group members since the original Lockdown. 

Set-up for him was during a home visit from mPower Community Navigator Louise Anne. Not only has the iPad enabled him to link in with the Parkinson’s’ support group, but he now also feels more included within his community. Other applications were set up for him as well so he can enjoy activities such as crosswords, word searches and sports.

In total, there have been six devices allocated to Parkinson’s patients within the Western Isles through the Parkinson’s Specialist Nurse, and all supported by the mPower Community Navigator Support Service.  The devices have been integral to facilitate communication with families and the Consultant Neurologist in Glasgow, during COVID-19 restrictions who has been able to consult with patients directly over the iPad using Attend Anywhere video technology.