Tuesday, July 14, 2015

When Communication, Cognition And Swallowing Are Affected By Decreased Breath Support

Through my experience working in a skilled nursing and long term care facility, I have found that patients can greatly benefit from therapy exercises and strategies to improve their breathing coordination as well as expiratory duration and strength. This in turn will positively affect their breath support, swallowing and communication skills. Patients who have are going through vent/trach weaning, COPD, Congestive Heart Failure, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophies, Parkinson's, asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and even patients who have suffered a CVA that has left more severe residual effects affecting their breath support can certainly benefit from speech therapy. 

When a patient's breathing coordination and strength is affected, it places them at a higher risk for aspiration due to the open mouth breathing patterns that usually interfere with safe eating and swallowing as well as the open airway during mastication.

Cognition is most often affected by low oxygen levels resulting in a higher risk of falling or poor decision making during daily living activities.

The following is an excerpt from my best selling e-book that will guide you in determining whether a patient is a candidate for speech therapy, completing a thorough evaluation with Medicare and third party billing in mind, writing functional, measurable goals and numerous therapy techniques to use over the course of treatment.

The patient pictured below was only volunteering to help with my book at her therapist's request and ended up having a pulse ox reading of less than 90% after just a few simple activities. Always keep in mind, looks can be deceiving. The patient who "looks good" may have majorly affected internal systems that require intervention. 

This book is available in .pdf format and is easily viewed in iBooks on your iPad/iPhone or using Adobe Viewer on a PC. 
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With purchase, you will receive a .zip file with the complete book as well as printable patient education handouts and phrase/sentence strips and lists to use in therapy.

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One of my clinical supervisors from MANY years ago who taught me the foundation of these strategies also had this to say:

"Finally!! Darla wrote the book I had always intended to write. This up to date comprehensive book details the areas important for a speech pathologist treating clients exhibiting weak breath control following a change in medical condition. She shows how to find the "tell tale" signs during review of medical chart for medical history, current medical condition, implications on cognition, swallowing and communication. She wrote this book with the treating therapist in mind with detailed chapters on assessment, patient education, goal setting and therapy techniques. This book will become your “go-to” resource. Thank you, Darla for putting our proven strategies down on paper."---Edith Young, SLP