EXCLUSIVE: Expert sheds light on speech therapy and its role in managing communication disorders

Communication disorders can be due to several reasons, including injury or trauma. It is essential that one undergoes proper treatment to resolve the problem. Here speech therapy comes into play. The clinical analysis and subsequent treatment of problems related to communication and speech are known as speech therapy.

There are several techniques that are used to improve communication during speech therapy sessions and the use of the techniques depends on the type of disorder the patient is suffering from. Some examples of techniques are language intervention activities, articulation therapy, etc.

Speech-language pathologists are trained to manage patients with certain medical conditions such as voice-related problems, hearing loss, acquired language disorders, or swallowing-related problems such as oropharyngeal dysphagia. The medical problems mentioned above usually arise due to other illnesses such as stroke, brain damage, neurological disorders, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia. These problems can also occur due to some acute conditions like respiratory dysfunction requiring tracheostomy and ventilation.

The professional role of a speech therapist has increased several times. This is due to the fact that in intensive care patients suffer from impaired communication and swallowing due to less sedation given to them. These functions are a good measure of a person’s quality of life and an improvement in them during a patient’s recovery phase is usually a sign of encouragement.

Areas where speech therapy plays a role:

1. Rehabilitation of performers

2. Multiple sclerosis rehabilitation

3. Geriatric rehabilitation

4. Oncology / oncology rehabilitation

5. Rehabilitation of spinal cord injuries

6. Rehabilitation of swallowing

speech therapy

Speech therapy requirement in stroke patients:

A stroke most often results in paralysis on one or both sides of the body. Paralysis can be temporary or permanent. Once a patient develops a stroke, several functions of the body are affected such as memory, cognition, balance, speech or vision. The patient also has a high likelihood of experiencing muscle pain and spasms which are classified as complications occurring after a stroke. The most common post-stroke complication is impaired speech and communication ability in patients. According to some medical research, up to 40 percent of stroke patients also suffer from loss of speech, known as aphasia.

Speech Therapist

Benefits of speech therapy in postoperative care and long-term intensive care:

1. Allows patients with normal swallowing and speaking functions

2. Management of dysphagia

3. Patient communication management

4. Support weaning from tracheostomy

About the author: Rahul Tyagi, Director – Operations, Porvoo Transition Care

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