Speech Therapy Addresses Many Needs

Including Swallowing Disorders, Voice Treatment Services, Pediatric Services, Speech and Swallowing Treatment for Parkinson’s

Speech therapy is commonly understood as a means to treat speech and language communication disorders, but at the UH Samaritan Rehabilitation Center, it is so much more.

In fact, a change that was made October 1, 2010 to Medicare reimbursement will greatly affect patients with voice prosthesis. These patients had a laryngectomy due to cancer of the head or neck, and have opted to regain voice function through a tracheoesophageal (TE) voice prosthesis.

With a general life span of three to six months, TE voice prosthesis must be changed quite often by either a physician or a speech-language pathologist. Medicare requires patients to purchase TE voice prosthesis from only those qualified to replace the prosthesis.

Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, is another medical condition that is treated at the UH Samaritan Rehabilitation Center. It is estimated that 15 million Americans have difficulty swallowing, which is attributed to stroke, the aging process, respiratory failure, degenerative neurological disease, and head and neck cancer.

Left untreated, swallowing difficulties can lead to aspiration, pneumonia, choking, chronic malnutrition, severe life-threatening dehydration, an increased rate of infection, longer hospital stays, long-term institutional care and even death.

Swallowing issues are also present in children, which is why the UH Samaritan Rehabilitation Center offers pediatric modified barium swallow studies. With our smaller facility and staff, children often feel more comfortable than at a larger facility because they can play before the study, familiarizing themselves with their environment. In addition, traveling is stressful to both the child and parents.

Just as children’s needs are addressed, staff at the UH Samaritan Rehabilitation Center also addresses specific speech concerns for patients with Parkinson Disease, as 89% of these patients will have problems with speech. These problems, which include: soft voice; mumbled speech; monotone speech; and hoarse voice will start early in the disease process, progressively diminishing their quality of life.

A Parkinson-specific speech therapy program known as the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment, or LSVT LOUD, is offered at the UH Samaritan Rehabilitation Center. The benefits of this program, which takes 16 individual treatment sessions, have been found to last from two to three years. It promotes improved vocal loudness; improved speech intelligibility; and more facial expression.

If you or a loved one could benefit from any of these speech therapy services, talk to your physician. Speech therapy at the UH Samaritan Rehabilitation Center needs a physician referral. To participate in LSVT Loud therapy, a referral is needed from an ENT, who must examine the vocal folds prior to beginning treatment.

Please call the UH Samaritan Rehabilitation Center at 419-281-1330 for more information about these or other services.