Working with residents who have aphasia is an important role of therapy providers. Aphasia is defined as the impairment of language, which can impact a resident’s ability to speak as well as write and read. Language involves our ability to recognize and use words and sentences.
Much of this capability resides in the left hemisphere of the brain. When a resident has a stroke or other injury that affects the left side of the brain, it typically disrupts his or her ability to use language. Language includes:
- Understanding the speech of others
- Using numbers
Aphasia affects everyone differently. Many may think that residents who suffer from aphasia have intellectual or learning problems. However, intelligence is not affected by aphasia, only one’s communication abilities.
Therapy Providers and the Resident Care Team
Therapy providers are important members of the multidisciplinary care team at Skilled Nursing Facilities. They are able to assess, diagnose, and treat disorders concerning speech, language, cognitive-communication, voice, swallowing ability, and other related issues.
Ultimately, the goal of therapy providers is to help residents attain the highest level of language and communication function possible.
For those with aphasia, they do this by assessing the impairment level of a resident’s aphasia and structuring appropriate communication therapies.
Therapy Providers Play a Central Role in the Assessment of Aphasia
The symptoms of aphasia vary in both the severity of impairment and the impact on communication. Factors such as the location and extent of damage to the brain and the demands of the speaking situation impact the severity of each case.
A resident with aphasia often experiences both receptive and expressive spoken language difficulties, each to varying degrees. He or she may have similar difficulties in written language.
Therapy providers are trained and experienced at diagnosing these difficulties and evaluating their level of severity.
Therapy Providers Provide Communication Therapy for Aphasia
Therapy providers provide individualized treatment to address the specific areas of need identified during a resident’s aphasia assessment. This will also include goals identified by the resident and his or her family.
The goal of communication therapy is to help the resident achieve the highest level of independent function for participation in daily living. Through these services, the therapy provider will seek to:
- Build on strengths and address weaknesses related to underlying structures and functions that affect communication
- Teach new skills and compensatory strategies to both the resident with aphasia and his or her family
- Incorporate any appropriate alternative communication strategies
- Modify contextual factors that serve as barriers
- Enhance contextual factors that facilitate successful communication and participation
Choosing the Best Therapy Providers
SNF residents face many challenges when dealing with aphasia, and regaining the ability to communicate is perhaps the most significant. Being unable to communicate clearly can lead to feelings of isolation and frustration, and eventually depression.
Therapy providers play a key role in the treatment of residents with aphasia, and not only because of the communication therapies they provide. Experienced rehab services providers also serve as coaches and encouragers to residents who need treatment for aphasia.
At Apex Rehab, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive therapy services for residents recovering from aphasia. To discover how you can partner with us, call (412) 963-9698 or complete this quick form.