The Role of the Speech-Language Pathologist in the Long-term Care Setting

Speech Language PathologyghtsA Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP), sometimes called a speech therapist, specializes in the evaluation and treatment of swallowing, cognition/thinking skills and communication disorders. SLPs often collaborate with physicians, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, social workers and dieticians to provide care to our patients.

SLP services aim to improve a person’s quality of life through regaining the ability to eat and swallow, improving cognitive skills for increased independence, and helping to regain communication skills to express wants, needs, and ideas.

Dysphagia (Swallowing Disorders)

Swallowing disorders (“dysphagia”) affect approximately 15 million Americans, and nearly all dementia patients eventually develop dysphagia. Dysphagia is associated with a number of other conditions including stroke, progressive neurological conditions (multiple sclerosis, ALS, Parkinson’s, etc), respiratory conditions (COPD, Etc), brain injury, spinal cord injury. Patients with dysphagia are at risk of having food, liquids, or medication enter their lungs (this is called “aspiration”) which can cause pneumonia or choking.

SLPs address dysphagia via instruction of strengthening exercises that target the swallowing muscles, as well as teaching patients strategies for compensating for muscle weakness.

Cognitive Impairments and Dementia

Speech Language PathologyFor our patients and families affected by dementia and other cognitive impairments, SLPs help bridge some of the cognitive and communication gaps that may develop. SLPs may help patients with early-stage cognitive disorders develop compensation techniques to keep up with daily tasks and maximize their independence (such as keeping a daily journal). In the late stages, swallowing disorders may emerge and the SLP can assist in techniques for safe feeding.

SLPs also have an important role in implementing communication strategies for both the patient and the family, because problematic behaviors from dementia patients may stem from their inability to express their wants, needs or pains.

Speech, Language and Voice

After a brain injury or stroke, it is common for patients to have difficulty with both the physical and mental functions of communicating. SLPs work with patients to increase their ability to speak and communicate. Additionally, SLPs will implement a number of treatment techniques to treat deficits in a patient’s voice.

At MediLodge of Sterling Heights we combine the skills of our highly qualified physical, occupational and speech therapists with the amenities of our unique Wellness Lodge, creating an ideal place for recovery. Our knowledge and experience make it possible for us to provide maximum Lodger potential in regards to rehabilitation while providing a comfortable and compassionate environment for healing.


For more information on The MediLodge Group, visit our website, find us on Facebook or tune in to our YouTube Channel.

MediLodge of Sterling Heights

MediLodge of Sterling Heights


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