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FV Hospital launches new speech therapy service

From early September 2017, FV hospital launches speech therapy services to provide early rehabilitation to people detected with swallowing, speech or language disorders. Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation Department team welcomes Ms Aimee Auret, speech therapist graduated from South Africa, to provide patient care within the multidisciplinary approach.

Her full time position will include implementation of speech therapy services and the coordination of the FVH stroke project. Introduction of a full range of speech therapy services at FV hospital will make a great change for patients, helping them to be detected, evaluated, treated and receive counseling from a certified therapist.

During the starting period, this service is initiated towards hospitalized adult patients. Typically, inpatients treated by speech therapists can have simple or severe diseases such as complex or degenerative neurologic conditions, post-surgery conditions, loss of mobility and independence or cognitive disorders. The most common disorders treated by speech therapists are swallowing disorders and communication disorders. Swallowing disorders, following onset or recurrent swallowing disorders, can now be assessed early by a specialist; and then receive a safe and adapted treatment plan, including specific recommendations for feeding or food texture.

Moreover, communication disorders such as speech sound disorders, language impairments, fluency disorders and cognitive-communication disorders will also have the chance to be managed by the speech therapist simultaneously whilst receiving a specific and well-adjusted rehabilitation programme.

The most common range of conditions often associated with communication/swallowing disorders include:

  • Stroke
  • Neurologic disorders such as Parkinson disease
  • Dementia
  • Age-related dysphagia
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Voice disorders (including laryngectomy and tracheostomy)

As a part of rehabilitation programme, for each patient in need of communication or swallowing therapy, Ms Aimee will provide a well-tailored and individualized therapy or exercise programme to patients.

“I always focus on helping patients to actively understand their disorder. This will motivate them to improve their condition. Additionally, updating them about the latest therapy approaches, working with multidisciplinary team and improving interaction between clinical staff and patients are essential to successful treatment”, she said.

During the speech and swallowing therapy process, some techniques include exercises to improve strength, coordination and range of movement in the mouth and throat structures, respiration and relaxation exercises to reduce tension and increase support, development of customized communication aids and alternative communication methods, speech drills, and specific therapy for language, fluency, literacy and cognitive-communication skills.

Along with the appropriate exercises, Ms. Aimee emphasizes the roles of family in patients’ rehabilitation. “Family members are those who understand patients most and they can apply therapies at home to facilitate rehabilitation”, Ms. Aimee added.

Talking about her work in the coming time, Ms. Aimee said: “I always have big interest in adult neurology and I hope to contribute to research in this field in the future”.

According to Ms. Catherine Cousin, Head of FVH Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Department, speech therapy activity is focus on developing activity related to patient’s care for a standardized and safe care of patients having swallowing or communication disorders. To allow the continuity of care, this service would be progressively expanded to outpatients.

Ms. Aimée Auret is Speech Therapist graduated from University of Cape Town-South Africa in 2015. From her working experience and as research assistant at Helen Joseph Hospital- South Africa-, Ms Aimee has a great interest in caring for patients withneurological conditions presenting with communication and swallowing disorders.