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Speech Therapy for Aged Care Clients

October 30, 2018 0 Comments

Speech therapy or speech pathology is a clinical practice that aims to aid people who cannot communicate effectively. It is often used as a treatment for people who are suffering from speech and language disorders, swallowing disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and dementia. This type of therapy is carried out by a speech pathologist, a health care professional with expertise in the assessment and management of communication disorders.

Speech therapy is a valuable aid for aged care residents who struggle with communication, often as a result of an underlying health condition. These include:

  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Stroke
  • Brain Injury
  • Traumatic Head Injury
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Loss of Hearing
  • Mouth, Neck, and Throat Cancer

These medical conditions may result in speech and communication problems such as aphasia or the inability to comprehend or formulate language because of damage to specific brain regions. They may also lead to dysphagia, which is a term used to describe difficulty in swallowing, which may later affect speech.

A speech pathologist designs a treatment plan, specific to the individual, to help improve an elderly person’s communication, cognition, memory, and problem-solving skills through various activities. Some of these activities used include:

Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy – a form of rehabilitation therapy that encourages the use of a limb affected by stroke, while restraining the unaffected limb. This improves the upper extremity, as well as the nervous system which will eventually improve cognition and communication.

Singing – a fun activity where clients are asked to make melodic intonations for words they cannot speak.

Thought Organisation – this improves visual and verbal organisation during communicative interactions. This activity is often carried out in group sessions.

Visual Speech Perception – the process of associating certain words with pictures. This activity improves cognitive skills.

Diet Modifications – special diets are given to relieve dehydration and dysphagia.

Rehabilitative Exercises:

  • Masako Manoeuvre – improves swallowing.
  • Mendelsohn Manoeuvre – a swallowing manoeuvre which was designed to treat both reduced laryngeal excursion and limited cricopharyngeal opening.
  • Shaker Manoeuvre – improves swallowing and strengthens neck muscles.

 

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