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Humans of POWH: Sienna

Sienna – Speech Pathologist for Speech Pathology Week

It’s Speech Pathology Week and we had the chance to catch up with Sienna who is a Speech Pathologist in the Geriatrics Department at Prince of Wales Hospital. Sienna is deeply passionate about speech pathology and the meaning it can bring to a patient’s life when they need it the most.

Q1: What is your role and what do you do?

A: I’m a Speech Pathologist in the Geriatrics Department, so I help support patients over 65 years of age who may have dementia, Parkinsons disease or other infections that affect their ability to talk or communicate.

Q2: What interested you into speech pathology?

A: What got me interested into speech pathology was the social focus of it all. People usually come together by communicating and sometimes sharing food together. It’s how we connect with the world. So, if you can’t speak or can’t swallow, it makes it hard for you to talk and socialise with people. Patients often will feel isolated, lonely, or even depressed when they aren’t able to perform tasks that everyday people are able to do. Speech pathology can really be meaningful and increase a patient’s quality of life.

Q3: What’s your favourite memory working at POWH?

A: Where do I start? I have so many! I’d definitely say the advocacy we do for our patients. Before the pandemic, I ran a Rehab Choir for spinal and neuro patients to aid in their recovery. It was really nice to see the patients during their recovery to come together and work together to improve their speech, language and communication through singing. They sang together to share their emotions and it offered them a space to work on their recovery in a safe space. In geriatrics, elderly patients often are isolated from society and the role of speech pathology helps them give meaning and makes them feel like they matter.

Q4: Why is spreading awareness about speech pathology important?

A: Not a lot of people know what we do. It’s great for people to know where to go for help because a lot of patients aren’t aware that speech, swallowing and communication challenges can be treated.

Q5: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

A: I love spending time with my 2 dogs. I have a Golden Retriever and a Terrier. I also enjoy travelling. I love going to explore unique places and going off the beaten track. In November I have a trip to Antarctica planned. I’m very open to going on adventures! I also love to socialise and see my friends.