Speech-Language Therapy (SLT) is a medical necessity for many conditions such as stroke and traumatic brain injury and is used in rehabilitation to treat swallowing, hearing, and speech issues such as articulation, fluency, stuttering, and cluttering (irregular and disorganized speech patterns).
Speech therapy plays a critical role in the overall rehabilitation program. The American Stroke Association estimates that nearly 800,000 people have a stroke each year. After a stroke, approximately 65% of patients have swallowing problems (Cohen et al., 2016, p. 400) and six months later, nearly half of those may still experience dysphasia, aphasia, and apraxia.
Typically, speech therapy begins in the hospital during acute care when swallowing is assessed, continues during rehabilitation, and is part of long-term care if needed. Rehabilitative speech therapy assesses the cognitive-communication abilities of patients that are related to trauma from injuries and accidents. Repetitive, consistent speech therapy is crucial during stroke recovery to help the brain make important connections.
When a stroke, clinically called a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), causes damage to different areas of the brain, speech centers are affected in the majority of people. Strokes in the left hemisphere typically affect speech in addition to the right side of the body. There are different types of stroke:
- Ischemic Stroke — a blood clot blocks blood to the brain, treated with tPA / Tissue plasminogen activator (commonly called a “clot buster”) if caught in time, or heparin otherwise.
- Hemorrhagic Stroke — also known as aneurysms or arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) describe ruptured blood vessel that can leak blood into brain.
Other Conditions — speech therapy can help with other conditions such as:
- Head Injury / Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- Injuries / Surgeries to the Larynx or Pharynx
Sunshine's Speech Language (SLT) Program
Sunshine's speech therapy program can strengthen an individual’s ability to swallow and promote communication. With the help of Sunshine-employed licensed speech therapists, you can be sure that you or your loved ones will receive person-centered care and individualized plans to help achieve quicker healing and achieve independence. Speech therapy can:
- improve overall communication
- improve self-esteem
- improve articulation
- improve swallowing
Speech therapy is critical because the essential act of eating requires the controlled use of the vocal cords (larynx) and upper airways (pharynx). Swallowing rehabilitation helps patients avoid choking and aspiration pneumonia.
Many, but not all of our patients, are elderly, but strokes, accidents, and injuries can happen to people of any age. Sunshine Health Facilities offers speech rehabilitation for everyone.
Sunshine’s Rehab Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) / Speech Therapists are masters-level professionals who’ve completed a post-graduate fellowship and are licensed to work with patients. They complete continuing education (CTE) credits to maintain their license.
Our Speech Therapists coordinate with the care team to create a rehabilitative plan to get the patient as fully-functioning and independent as possible. Audiologists, Speech Therapists, Physical Therapists, and Occupational Therapists provide different aspects of the patient’s rehabilitation. Speech therapy assistants work with Speech-Language Pathologists to help the patient through their rehab therapy.
Inpatient & Long-Term Care
When patients arrive at Sunshine, our SLPs will assess their abilities, review chart notes, and create a therapy plan to maximize their time with us. Sunshine SLPs meet with the patient and their family to discuss care objectives, milestones, and family involvement to help the patient master speech rehabilitation.
Sunshine’s SLPs work with patients at designated check-ins to assess progress and ensure patients are meeting or exceeding their goals. Therapy plans are adjusted accordingly.
Home Health Care
Speech therapy continues in the homecare setting where Sunshine’s SLPs help patients stay on track, meet goals, and mentor family members on techniques that will benefit their loved ones.
Disorders Treated by Sunshine Speech Therapists
Aphasia—a language disorder that affects the cognitive aspect of speech. Many types of aphasia exist including:
- Expressive aphasia — cannot find the words to say
- Receptive aphasia — cannot understand language
- Anomic aphasia (least severe form) — difficulty using correct names
- Global aphasia (most severe form) —cannot use speak or understand words, nor can a patient read or write
Apraxia — a language disorder that affects the motor aspect of speech
Dysphasia (also called dysphasia or post-stroke dysphagia or PSD)— swallowing
How much therapy will I receive at Sunshine?
The amount of therapy varies depending on your primary diagnosis, additional health conditions, cognitive impairment, mechanical/swallowing disorder, and health plan. For example, Medicare Part A covers 100 days of post-acute care where the patient stayed at least three days in an acute care hospital. Other times, Medicare Part B will cover certain therapies.
How long does speech therapy last?
Speech therapy is an intensive process for both patient and therapist. A stroke can affect emotion and cognition in addition to affecting communication, speech, and swallowing. The road to recovery helps the patient to re-train their brain to swallow, process language, and pronounce words.
- American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA)
- American Stroke Association: A Division of American Heart Association
- Brain Aneurysm Foundation
- National Aphasia Association
- NIH Fact Sheets
Cohen, D. L., Roffe, C., Beavan, J., Blackett, B., Fairfield, C. A., Hamdy, S., … Bath, P. M. (2016). Post-stroke dysphagia: A review and design considerations for future trials. International Journal of Stroke, 11(4), 399–411. https://doi.org/10.1177/1747493016639057