Speech Therapy for Stroke Patients

A cerebrovascular accident commonly known as a Stroke or (Puplesija) happens when there is interruption of blood supply to the brain. When the blood supply is interrupted, several brain cells lack oxygen causing some damage to some of them and other cells even die. When a patient suffers from a stroke, he or she may experience temporary weakened movement or loss of skills. That may include inability to move an arm or leg or complete incapability to walk. Other conditions include impaired swallowing abilities, and impaired communication. The above-mentioned conditions are dependent upon the regions of the brain that were affected and the extent of damage to the cells in those regions. Therefore, indicating whether the damages are either temporary or permanent. This paper will focus on brain damage that impairs communication and swallowing abilities that result in three conditions; dysarthia, dysphagia and dysphasia, where a speech and language therapist is qualified to treat.

A speech and language therapist has many roles to a stroke victim and one of them is to assess whether the patient has difficulty in coordinating language and speech, or has difficulty in swallowing. Then he will identify the proper intervention required by the patient, either direct or indirect therapy. He will then provide strategies to both the patient and relatives that will help in communication. If the patient is encountering severe communication impairment, he may offer different and augmentative modes of communication. Dysphasia affects the ability to understand and use language to communicate, dysarthria affects the ability to produce speech, while dysphagia affects muscles that assist in drinking, swallowing, and eating.

These serious disabilities impair an individual to the point that he or she cannot interact socially thereby affecting their quality of life to a degree that they can be life threatening. Speech and language therapists are the core members of a team of specialists that care for stroke victims, from the initial care up to the transfer and community and rehabilitation services. They also play a significant role in making sure that the quality of service offered  meet the required standards, they do this by training staff and care givers. The benefits of speech and language therapy for Patients include the reduction of the impact dysphagia thus improving nutritional intake. This will greatly reduce the chances of the patient getting respiratory infections, pneumonia, and malnutrition. Other indicators that show benefits of therapy include the patient getting back his ability to function normally, this will get the patient’s life back to where it was previously. This will enhance his quality of life and will eventually be able to go back to work. Research has shown that occurrence of aspiration pneumonia due to dysphagia reduces from about 6.7% to 0% because of effective therapy.

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The findings of these articles indicate that early intervention is crucial and will have the greatest effect on dealing with communication and swallowing impairment especially at the acute phase of stroke recovery. Inclusion of therapists has also shown that the length of stay of patients in hospital is greatly reduced, and research indicates that patients have superior recovery than those patients who never had therapists. Data was collected from various hospitals in London and survey of different survivors who are members of stroke association. Data from London acute hospitals indicate that only 14% of patients who undergo therapist care receive speech and language therapy for a period between 3 to 12 months after discharge. The Stroke Association shows further evidence of the impact of therapist from a survey of stroke survivors, they indicate satisfaction with the support they receive from speech, and language therapy services especially at the stage of transition.

My understanding of other health professionals has improved greatly and coordinating with other professionals improves greatly the chances of a patient to survive and heal rapidly. Our work is interwoven together and this seamless connection will affect greatly the recovery of patients in the hospital. My work and profession cannot continue without the help of other health professionals, meaning that their input to my work cannot be ignored. My future health profession will involve other health professionals’ ideas and welcoming their advice. If my patient requires help from other professionals in my field, I will not hesitate to ask for assistance so that my patient gets the best care. In addition, if other professionals will need my help I will gladly provide them with all that I can provide. Such help to patients suffering from all kinds of conditions go a long way in ensuring that he or she recovers fully, which is the ultimate goal.