A language expert who works for Kingston University (KU) is leading the rehabilitation of patients at London's new Nightingale Hospital during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr Jackie McRae, is the Director of Research and Enterprise for the School of Allied Health, Midwifery and Social Care in the joint Kingston and St George’s Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education.

She recently began work as clinical lead speech and language therapist at the Nightingale Hospital in London, which was designed to increase capacity of hospital beds during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr McRae has worked with the NHS for over 25 years.

Her work at London's new temporary care facility is helping patients recover normal everyday functions such as talking, eating and drinking – which can be particularly affected due to the nature of the virus.

"Part of the pattern with COVID-19 we’re learning is the extreme coughing and breathing dysfunction people are suffering from is affecting the functions of the larynx and this means simple functions we take for granted are proving challenging for those who have contracted this disease,” she said of the disease.

"It’s a multi-disciplinary approach." Dr McRae added of her work at the facility.

"We use communication charts and have specialist, modified food, which is all part of us easing patients back into eating, drinking and normally before they return home,”

The KU-affiliated is on a number of expert panels with professional body The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.

She revealed in conversation with KU that she has been linking up with her counterparts in the other Nightingale locations to share experiences and ideas.

"This is a new virus so I think we were all a bit anxious as we didn’t know what to expect and couldn’t use all of our usual interventions," Dr McRae said.

"Being able to talk to the clinical leads in the other hospitals has helped us all tremendously – it’s brought together the largest number of clinicians working collaboratively, more than you could ever imagine,” she added.