Speech therapy can treat a wide variety of problems, including swallowing, hearing and cognitive issues, to help improve communication and quality of life. At Maine Veterans’ Homes, we believe a key to the most successful outcomes starts with an individualized treatment plan.
“We don’t use a cookie-cutter approach,” says Jessica Lawrence, senior speech therapist at our Bangor Home. “We specialize in creating a speech therapy plan specific to the needs of each of our rehab patients or residents.”
With expert specialists on staff and state-of-the-art equipment, each individualized treatment plan is established with a goal to either restore the function(s) the have been lost or to find ways to compensate for what is lost.
Creating a Unique Speech Therapy Plan For You
At Maine Veterans’ Homes, each individualized plan starts with our three-step approach:
Step 1: We conduct a thorough and private interview where the patient, family or caregiver(s), and therapist can discuss impacts on day-to-day life, needs and limitations, then set goals.
Step 2: We conduct a standardized needs test to help determine what specialized therapies and equipment are needed for optimal outcome.
Step 3: A plan of care, also called our plan of action, is established. Together, as a collaborative team, we develop an individualized speech therapy plan to get each patient to his or her goal.
Common Speech Disorders in Adults
- Articulation problems
- Language disorders
- Apraxia (a neurological motor disorder; the individual has difficulty performing tasks/movements when asked)
- Aural/hearing issues
- Voice disorders
- Cognitive communication disorders
- Esophageal issues
- Swallowing disorders and diet concerns
Specialized Speech Therapy at MVH
One of the specialized therapies we offer is the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT).
LSVT stimulates the muscles of the voice box (larynx) and speech mechanism through a systematic hierarchy of exercises. It is most often used to help those with Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological disorders control vocal quality and loudness and quality. Treatment can also improve respiratory, laryngeal and articulatory function.
Another state-of-the-art piece of equipment we utilize is the VitalStim, which applies stimulation to the swallowing muscles to help treat dysphagia (persistent difficulty swallowing.) Studies have found great success in restoring long-term swallowing functions for those with mild to moderate dysphagia.
There are various others forms of swallowing therapy that can also be included in a treatment plant to improve esophageal function, regurgitation and other swallowing complications.
A speech therapy treatment plan at Maine Veterans’ Homes may also include cognitive therapy to help improve tasks such as short-term memory loss, side effects of dementia and other neurological impairments.
“We help our patients combat memory loss by having them complete daily tasks such as creating a to-do list and solving puzzles,” Lawrence says. “Speech therapy often involves much more than just communication.”
Our team of therapists and specialists work together to find a treatment plan that meets the individual needs and goals of each veteran we treat.
“We believe in creative thinking to come up with the best plan for each of our patients,” Lawrence says. “Everyone’s daily life is different. Everyone’s needs are different. You have to take all of that into account.”
Speech Recovery at Home
Even after therapy is complete, many people do not realize the full scope of continued recovery at home.
This is why Maine Veterans’ Homes developed a Transitioning Home program for those going home after a short-term or long-term stay in the nursing home. The program is designed to help patients and their caregivers feel confident when transitioning from professional care to at-home care.