A rehabilitation program in Newcastle has helped people battling Parkinson’s Disease find their voice again. 

Rankin Park Day Hospital now offers ‘Speak Out’, a educational and individual therapy treatment to help those struggling with the speech and swallowing issues that come with Parkinson’s Disease. 

The hospital is known for its Parkinson’s groups and interventions, as they have some of the largest number of participants attending rehabilitation programs across the state. 

The department was recently awarded a grant from the non profit organisation, Parkinson Voice Project, which developed and directs the ‘Speak Out’ program, allowing three new clinicians to be trained to deliver the program to patients. 

Speech Pathologist Alexander Tait says says the program has given patients the ability to speak and swallow properly again.

“What this program has done has allowed people to re-strengthen and re-gain their ability to speak again, allowing them to be hard by their friends and family, and also allow them to improve their swallowing,” Mr Tait said.

Rankin Park is the only public facility in the Hunter offering the program for free, allowing all members of the community who are struggling, the chance to find their voice. 

Mr Tait says the program is also accessible to those in outer Newcastle, via telehealth. 

“It’s something that’s never been available before in the Hunter, and is free of charge to people under New England Health Policy,” Mr Tait said. 

“It’s an evidence based credited program that is demonstrating results.”