Speech And Language Therapy

Speech therapy (or speech pathology as it is known in some countries) is a less known part of the Allied Health professionals. These services can be very helpful for people who have swallowing or language difficulties as a result of head injuries or other neurological disabilities.

Speech therapists are fully focused on the facial muscles that affect or enable us to speak and swallow without difficulties. A cerebrovascular accident (CVA) also known as stroke, is an example of a neurological injury that affects these facial muscles in most cases and often on one side only. Thus, a patient recovering from stroke in a hospital will be reviewed by the speech pathologist who will decide what texture of food they are able to swallow.

It is not only in hospitals that speech therapists do most of their work. Their services are often required in Aged Care facilities or nursing homes. Older adults are more likely to develop swallowing and eating difficulties as they have more co-morbidities that affect their ability to compromise these muscles. In addition to this, people living in nursing homes with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are also unable to communicate about their difficulties. This increases the risk of choking. Hence, when it is observed that a resident has reduced appetite suddenly or gradually over a few days, a speech therapist is called to review them and advise if the ┬átexture of their diet should be changed.

 

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This is not to be confused with the role that the dietician plays in the healthcare team. The dietician is responsible for ensuring that the patient or the resident is receiving the optimum level of nutrition according to their needs and that none of their foods are contraindicated with the treatment they are receiving or their diagnosis. However, the speech therapist decides what texture these foods should be in. For example, a patient who has severe difficulty with swallowing as a result of having a recent stroke may be on a fully vitamized or thickened diet which minimizes the work of chewing and ensures smooth swallowing.

Rehab Physiotherapy Clinics

Some of the most common form of injuries involve bones and joints such as fractures and dislocations. Although these are mended surgically, the recovery process can be lengthy and slow. This is because bones by the their very nature heal very slowly. In addition to this, it is also very important to not push too hard in terms of the energy you’re exerting or the weight you are bearing on the injured part of your body. Much likes muscles, bones need to be pushed to the point where they can grow but not to the point of regression.

This is why rehab is key for any person recovering from a sports injury. Whether its a knee injury or a hamstring injury, the orthopaedic surgeon will do their best to mend the injured part but when it comes to gaining your strength and balance back to its original state, physiotherapy goes a long way. Normally after an orthopaedic surgery, the patient is tentatively transferred to a Rehab ward within the hospital or a different hospital altogether which specializes in rehabilitation. The goal at this stage is to get the person fit enough that they would be able to live somewhat independently or with some support at home. Depending on the injury and type or surgery, this can be from 2 weeks to a 2-3 months in rare cases.

Once the person is at this point, they are then discharged from hospital. But the work is not over yet. It is highly recommended that they go to outpatient physical therapy clinics that aid rehabilitation a few times every week. Again, the frequency depends on how much work is left to be done in order to restore them to their full potential. This is much like going to the gym for exercise, except that it is less intensive but fundamentally the same principle.

For people with sports injuries, these clinics are absolutely the best option. You will gain more confidence as there is a professional by your side pushing you to the point that is necessary for efficient healing but not overdoing it.