Volunteers' fundraising allows purchase of hospital equipment to expand testing to children

The next time you’re at Wagga Rural Referral Hospital and the volunteers ask if you’d like to buy a snack from their trolley, go right ahead because it’s for a great cause.

The money raised by the volunteers is ploughed back into buying resources for the hospital.

To mark Speech Pathology Week, the hospital has unveiled some of the newest equipment purchased with the funds raised by volunteers.

The two paediatric “chairs” will be used in the hospital’s fluoroscopy room, allowing young children to undergo video fluoroscopy swallow studies in Wagga, a process that until has had to be carried out in Canberra or Sydney.

The hospital’s speech therapist in charge, Rachael Lawrence, said the use of the paediatric chairs would not only relieve families the burden of having to travel to an unfamiliar hospital, but was likely to reduce the amount of time they would have to wait for an appointment.

NEW SERVICE: Hospital volunteers Lise Chan (back) and Brenda Shone, speech therapist Rachael Lawrence and four-year-old Kailyn Fitzpatrick with one of the new paediatric chairs. Picture: Kieren L Tilly

NEW SERVICE: Hospital volunteers Lise Chan (back) and Brenda Shone, speech therapist Rachael Lawrence and four-year-old Kailyn Fitzpatrick with one of the new paediatric chairs. Picture: Kieren L Tilly

While most people understand that speech therapists are able to assist with speech, it’s less well known that they also assist patients who have issues with swallowing.

Speech Pathology Australia estimates 1.1 million Australians have a communication disability – and that, over the course of their life, one in seven Australians will experience a communication difficulty. Up to 25 per cent of children starting kindergarten have a language disorder.