Health Link speech language pathologists specialize in treatments to develop and grow patient communication skills. Our speech pathologists provide initial consultation to the patient, assess and diagnose specific communication problems and follow the prescribed plan of care in order to rehabilitate basic communication skills. We work intently to improve speech, hearing, and other various auditory disorders through education and contemporary treatment methods. Our speech therapy experts specialize in assessing and treating language, speech, fluency, and cognitive disorders that hinder communication. We offer invaluable skills and expertise in diagnosing and rehabilitating patients with a variety of disorders like aphasia and dysphagia. Health Link specializes in difficulties in feeding and swallowing as well as offering a variety of therapeutic options to rehabilitate swallowing disorders.
What do speech therapists do?
- Train patients in correct speech, reading, and writing methods, as well as other communication options
- Following the plan of care instructions for patients with swallowing, hearing and speech disorders
- Track and assess the results of communication evaluations and areas of difficulty in detail
- Report clinical findings and results to pinpoint areas to target for improvement and possible treatment
- Go over treatment options with the patient, family members and primary physicians
- Create a treatment plan for every individual speech therapy patient which takes into account communication improvement methods
- Train patients and family members in the treatment reinforcement and consistency, techniques and carryover in-home activities
We treat the following dysphagia symptoms
- Absence or loss of gag reflex
- Chest pressure
- Coughing, gagging or pain when swallowing
- Difficulty starting to swallow
- Food consistently going down the wrong pipe (into the lungs)
- Inability to ingest the minimum food or liquid required, resulting in unhealthy weight loss
- Poor tongue control
- Regurgitation of food through the nasal passages
- Sensation that food is stuck in the chest or throat
- Throat soreness and discomfort
- Vocal weakness
Dysphagia care and client comfort
Health Link caregivers focus their energies on client goals so that treatment can lead to improvement. The intended outcome of dysphagia treatment is to further or restore the patient’s ability to chew and swallow independently as well as prevent aspiration and pneumonia. Most commonly, the prescribed treatment method for dysphagia is swallowing therapy, which generally includes compensatory exercises. Because of the myriad of complications that can occur when dysphagia is left untreated or is incorrectly treated, most dysphagia therapy is provided with the assistance and oversight of a speech and language, physical or occupational therapist. Health Link provides swallow therapy that teaches Electrical Stimulation and Compensatory Exercising of the lips, tongue, mouth and throat to help strengthen and relax these muscles in addition to increasing flexibility. Health Link speech and language pathologists(SLT’s) train patients in specific routines to stimulate the nerves used to swallow Additional compensatory methods include adapting sitting position and posture, eliminating distractions at mealtimes, eating more slowly, serving small amounts and size of food or altering food consistency. Since the reasons for swallowing problems can be varied, the patient’s treatment usually is dependent upon the cause, severity and complications. We educate the patient and the family members in specialized exercises that stimulate the nerves used to swallow, head positions that aid patients swallowing and to ensuring that the patient is being properly supported at mealtimes by offering softer foods and thickened fluids which patients often find they can more easily eat and drink. Health Link caregivers instruct patients and their family members in the feeding tube used to deliver nutrition while rehabilitating the ability to swallow. This tube also eases the intake of medications that may be needed to treat other conditions. We most commonly use feeding tubes that are inserted through the patient’s nose and passed down the esophagus and into the stomach(nasogastric tubes) as well as tubes that are directly implanted in the patient’s stomach (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy, PEG, tubes). To assist with swallowing while maintaining the patient’s ability to enjoy food, detailed descriptions are provided of the food textures and types required by patients with dysphagia symptoms as well as those at risk of either aspiration or choking. The descriptors provided are standard vocabulary among medical professionals and therefore not up to interpretation when communicating about the unique patient requirements in their modified texture dietary plan.
Licensed and Certified Speech and Language Pathology Staff
Health Link language therapists and speech pathologists provide efficient and contemporary CA-licensed in-home health care services. All of our clinicians hold either doctoral or master’s degree, countless, invaluable years of field experience and have a Clinical Competence Certification in speech pathology from the Association of American Speech Language and Hearing. Health Link is dedicated to the proper, and successful rehabilitation of swallowing disorders. Our treatment goals is to return our patients to an enjoyable, safe, and satisfying daily routing for their eating and drinking habits. Our speech-language pathology gives each patient an individualized treatment plan to reach the highest possible quality of life.