Speech Therapy

Speech Therapy

Speech Therapy (also known as Speech-Language Therapy (SLT) is a medical necessity for many conditions and is used in the rehabilitative setting to assess and treat issues related to swallowing and hearing in addition to speech issues such as articulation, fluency, stuttering and cluttering (irregular and disorganized speech patterns).

Rehabilitation has many facets. Speech therapy plays a critical role in the overall rehabilitation program. 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 (p. 399).

Typically, speech therapy begins in the hospital setting during acute care and continues during rehabilitation or as part of ongoing care in a long-term care facility. 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.

Speech Therapy at Sunshine Health Facilities can help promote communication and strengthen an individual’s ability to swallow. 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:

Speech therapy is critical to the recovery of a patient because the essential act of eating requires the controlled use of the vocal cords (larynx) and upper airways (pharynx). According to the American Stroke Association, nearly 800,000 “American swill have a new or recurrent stroke”.

Stroke — a stroke, clinically called a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), causes damage to different areas of the brain. Speech centers are located in the dominant side of the brain, the left side, in the majority of people. Strokes in the left hemisphere would affect speech. Swallowing rehabilitation is critical after a stroke to avoid choking and aspiration pneumonia. This is why so much emphasis is placed on swallowing assessments in the hospital/acute care setting and rehabilitative care centers such as Sunshine.

Head Injury / Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

Injuries or Surgeries to the Larynx or Pharynx

speech therapy sunshine health rehab spokane3

Sunshine's SLP Program

Many, but not all of our patients, are elderly. Strokes, accidents, and injuries can happen to people of any age. Sunshine Health Facilities offers speech rehabilitation for all ages.

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 work to strengthen a patient’s swallowing and communication abilities and coordinate with the care team to create a rehabilitative plan to get the patient as fully-functioning and independent as possible. Audiologists, Speech, Physical and Occupational Therapists coordinate care on 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 for rehabilitation, our SLPs will assess their abilities, review chart notes, and create a therapy plan to maximize their time while staying with us. Sunshine SLPs meet with the patient and family to discuss care objectives, milestones, and how the family and care team can work together to help the patient master speech rehabilitation.

Outpatient
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 Healthcare
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 one.

Disorders Treated by Speech Therapists

Aphasia—a language disorder that affects the cognitive aspect of speech. Many types of aphasia exist including:

Apraxia — a language disorder that affects the motor aspect of speech

Dysphasia (also called dysphasia or post-stroke dysphagia or PSD)— swallowing

Speech therapy is an intensive process for both the patient and the speech therapist. In addition to affecting communication, speech, and swallowing, a stroke can affect emotion and cognition. The road to recovery takes dedication and work for the patient to re-train their brain to swallow, process language, and pronounce words. The American Stroke Association notes that recovery from a stroke can take up to two years.

FAQS

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.

Resources

American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA)
BRAIN
American Stroke Association: A Division of American Heart Association
Brain Aneurysm Foundation
National Aphasia Association
NIH Fact Sheets

YoungStroke, Inc.
Washington Brain Injury Awareness

References

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