The service is for those who find it difficult to come personally to Mysore institute

Elderly citizens suffering from speech and communication, and swallowing disorders can soon avail comprehensive online help from professionals with the Mysore-based All-India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH), planning to launch an exclusive helpline for senior citizens.

As a first step, the Centre for Rehabilitation and Education through Distance Mode (CREDM), which functions under the AIISH, has launched a helpline for persons with Parkinson’s disease.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) by persons with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers; questionnaires that can be used to learn the extent of speech and swallowing problems in persons with Parkinson’s disease, and the treatment section, which provides general treatment guidelines and exercises for speech and swallowing difficulties, are among the features of the helpline.

However, complete guidelines for the management of speech and swallowing problems are in the process of being uploaded on the website: www.aiishcredm.in - and will be available by September 15. Some guidelines have already been uploaded.

Other diseases too

Speaking to The Hindu, R. Manjula, who heads the CREDM, also said the institute plans to launch comprehensive online help for senior citizens suffering from other diseases such as dementia, stroke and other speech and language ailments.

She said the CREDM was launched to reach the unreached — to cater to persons with communication disorders who cannot access the services of AIISH in person and are living in different places across the country.

Thanks to the CREDM, tele-diagnosis and tele-rehabilitation has become a reality and patients from faraway places were availing rehabilitation from AIISH professionals without coming personally to Mysore.

“It is difficult for persons with Parkinson’s disease to come every time to the institute here for availing services. Sometimes, the caregivers are unable to come with them. The helpline with online guidance will be useful. We are getting enquiries since the launch,” she said.

Those who wish to access the helpline have to become members of the CREDM by filling up an application form. Once registered, they will get a login name.

Subsequently, they can access the guidelines and the professionals online, from Monday to Friday between 9.30 a.m. and 5.30 p.m.

One section has FAQs under three heads — about Parkinson’s disease; by persons with Parkinson’s disease; and by the family members or caregivers of persons with Parkinson’s disease.

“If guidance on rehabilitation is given, they can monitor the disease and its status, and overcome speech and swallowing problems. Even long-term rehabilitation is possible with this arrangement,” Ms. Manjula said.

The facility of online appointment for tele-assessment and intervention is also available at 10 centres — Ajmer, Bhagalpur, Cuttack, Delhi, Imphal, Jabalpur, Lucknow, Mumbai, Puducherry and Shimla. If a person cannot access any of the mentioned centres in person, he or she can click on forum for professional help, according to AIISH.

For further details about the helpline or for clinical assistance, visit theCREDM website: www.aiishcredm.in or email: speechdm@yahoo.com. Ph: 0821-2514449/2515448/2515805 (Ext 215).

More In: Karnataka | National