A tracheostomy is a surgically created opening in the neck leading directly to the trachea. It involves creating an opening in the neck in order to place a tube into a person’s windpipe. The tube is inserted through a cut in the neck below the vocal cords. This allows air to enter the lungs which help to create a bypass in the airway to help the patient breathe easy.
When a patient is under tracheostomy care, speech will be difficult until the time comes for a special tube to be placed which may allow talking by allowing the flow of air up to the vocal cords. When there is a prolonged requirement of tracheostomy treatment, speech and swallow therapy is a requirement for these patients.
Due to prolonged tracheostomy care, there may be a few complications a patient might face such as:
- Airway obstruction
- Scarring of the airway
- Damage to the larynx (voice box)
- Impaired swallowing and vocal function
- Burns of the airway from inhalation of corrosive material
- Cancer in the neck
- Severe neck or mouth injuries
A lot of these complications might cause the patient to rely on speech therapy for tracheostomy.
What is Swallow therapy?
Swallow therapy is a service provided by a speech-language pathologist. These highly qualified professionals are licensed in the evaluation and treatment of articulation, language, stuttering, voice, cognition and swallowing disorders & difficulty. The person who suffers from a stroke, TBI or Parkinson ’s generally need this therapy as they have speech and language disorder.
What does speech therapy for tracheostomy patients involve?
The speech therapy for tracheostomy pathologists will evaluate the specific needs of the patient and select a technique or a combination of techniques to serve the individual’s needs. Techniques can include, but are not limited to the following in our speech therapy for tracheostomy patients:
- Articulation improvement classes
- Language therapy
- Swallowing therapy/modified barium swallowing exam
- Stuttering therapy
- Fluency therapy
- Voice improvement
- Patient and family education
- Computer-aided speech or alternative non-vocal communication
- Cognitive retraining for memory and attention as well as organizing and planning
Time frame for speech therapy for tracheostomy patients:
The speech-language or swallowing evaluation of speech therapy for tracheostomy patients is completed on a face-to-face basis. It usually lasts for one hour. If treatment is recommended, all the follow-up visits range from 45-60 minutes. The duration and frequency of treatment varies for each individual and gets determined by the evaluating speech-language pathologist.
For additional information on speech therapy for tracheostomy patients explore: https://apokosrehab.com/ .