All Rights Reserved
We as humans are a community that thrives on the ability to communicate with those around us. With many means of communicating, our voices, the ability to speak, serve as an especially valuable and empowering tool that cannot be taken for granted.
There are certain conditions that threaten to take away our ability to speak and sometimes our ability to swallow or hear, both of which also impact our speech and communication. These communication disorders can be a result of stroke, brain damage, muscle weakness or respiratory distress throughout one’s lifetime. In other instances, communication disorders are congenital, in other words, they are present at birth. Regardless of the cause or duration of the communication disorder, losing the ability to speak or not having the ability to communicate is scary and can result in feelings of helplessness or frustration.
In the older population, speech therapists, also known as speech-language pathologists, are especially beneficial in the recovery processes following a stroke or in the therapy involved in dementia and other physical disorders. These conditions along with others can result in language and communication barriers. Aphasia, characterized by a difficulty in reading, writing, speaking and understanding language and apraxia, characterized by a difficulty in forming words, are two communication disorders that can commonly result from a stroke. Dementia often leads to difficulty thinking of words, trouble remembering thoughts, or losing attention during conversations. Physical weakness of the vocal cords can also result from multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). These disorders have the potential to affect us and our loved ones and deeply impact our independence. Recognizing the value in seeking out speech therapy can help to preserve an individual’s ability to speak and communicate for as long as possible.
In such situations, speech therapy is a remarkable service that can alleviate much of the distress that accompanies communication challenges. Speech therapy is a speech and language focused treatment that can aid in communication disorders spanning the lifetime.
Services include assistance with early language skills, voice and sound production, comprehension, fluency, clarity and expression. The therapist will work with patients to create highly individualized treatment plans and can provide additional techniques for the individual to practice on their own. Speech therapy is most commonly available in hospitals and clinics, but BrightSpring Health Services is one of the few home health companies to offer at-home speech therapy. This has a huge advantage, as it offers the potential to receive therapy in the comfort of your own home, which is important during such a vulnerable time. Recovering from and overcoming a speech disorder can be a long process. It requires patience and support from family and friends, and a speech therapist can aid in the journey to recovery.
The benefits from speech therapy are undeniable. With the help of a speech-language pathologist, you, your family member, your loved one or your friend will feel better, communicate better, regain more independence, and overall experience an improved quality of life.
Image 1: https://tutorbin.com/blog/informative-speech-topics-for-2020
Image 2: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/obtaining-older-patients-medical-history
Cleveland Clinic: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/22366-speech-therapy
BrightSpring Health Services: https://www.brightspringhealth.com/services/homecare-services/
Home health care refers to a wide range of health care services that can be given in your home for an illness or injury. This health care option is often less costly, more convenient, and just as effective and high in quality as care you receive in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (SNF). Home health care is one of the most valuable services for those who have Medicare benefits.
Skilled home health services may include:
In general, the goal of home health care is to treat an illness or injury. Home health care can help you:
If you receive Medicare benefits through a Medicare health plan, check with your plan to determine how it gives your Medicare-covered home health benefits.
If you have a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy or another form of health insurance coverage, tell your doctor or other health care provider so your bills can get paid correctly.
Doctors and referring health care providers should provide you with a list of agencies that service your area if they determine that you need home health care. They must tell you whether their organization has a financial interest in any agency listed.
Doctor’s orders are required to start home health care. After your doctor refers you for home health services, the home health agency will schedule an appointment and come to your home to talk to you about your needs and ask you questions about your health.
The home health agency staff will also talk to your doctor about your care and keep them updated about your progress. Home health staff must see you as often as your doctor has ordered.
Services your home health staff should provide include:
Springhill Home Care is a leading provider of home health and hospice services throughout Alabama. Fill out our online form today to learn more about our many home health care services.
By: Elizabeth Townsend, RN
People are social beings. With COVID-19 introducing social distancing guidelines and restrictions on visitations, social isolation and loneliness are increasing. A report referenced by JAMA discussed the need for solutions for social isolation and loneliness in older adults. There is significant documentation that social isolation and loneliness are related to a higher rate of major mental and physical illnesses, including:
According to the National Institute on Aging, people who participate in worthwhile activities with others tend to live longer and have a sense of purpose.
COVID-19 has made it difficult for seniors to participate in:
Home health clinicians assess patients for social isolation and loneliness. Asking patients about their social needs is important to identify who needs assistance, easing isolation and loneliness. The home health agency provides tools or guidelines with questions for the clinicians to ask. Examples of questions to ask:
After assessing and finding that your patient is suffering from social isolation, consult with their caregivers and healthcare team —specifically the agency’s social worker—to find ways to relieve their isolation. Daily Caregiving suggests some ways to help:
Social workers can ensure that patients have access to available resources. Local churches may have “shut-in” outreach for those unable to leave their homes. They may provide phone calls, run errands, provide food baskets, and communicate by mail with the seniors. Local library programs have online programs and can arrange to have books available for the patient to check out. The social worker can also refer the patient to transportation programs that take seniors to doctor appointments.
Advancing States created a resource to help reduce social isolation and loneliness.
There are helplines for mental and emotional support, which include: