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Healthcare Landscape

Back to the Basics – The Speech-Language Pathologist

Residents in long-term care settings often present with functional deficits requiring the skills of a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) to improve or maintain their independence and safety. Through consistent screening and comprehensive evaluations, when warranted, the Speech-Language Pathologist will identify impairments and declines in areas specific to their discipline. These areas may include speech intelligibility, written and spoken expressive and receptive language, voice volume and quality, swallowing, and cognition. The Speech-Language Pathologist may recommend a modified solid or liquid diet consistency specific to the resident’s swallow physiology to reduce the risk of aspiration or choking. Oral and pharyngeal exercises determined by the Speech-Language Pathologist may help reduce coughing, increase the ease of taking medication by mouth, and reduce holding or pocketing of food in the mouth.

Speech therapists train residents, caregivers, and family members on effective compensatory swallowing strategies to further improve swallowing safety and reduce the risk of aspiration. Cognitive-linguistic skills that may be improved or enhanced through Speech Therapy interventions include attention, organization, planning, problem solving, safety awareness, memory, and orientation. The provision of Speech Therapy can improve communication competence, optimize nutrition and hydration, increase cognitive skills, and enhance swallowing safety to achieve an overall improvement in quality of life for our residents.

Contact a member of the Paragon Team for more information on Speech-Language Pathology and come back next week to learn more about Occupational Therapy!

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