Making Connections: Swallowing Therapy and the SLP

[bright music] There are very few
people who will say eating’s not important to them. Cooking and eating is probably
my favorite thing to do. If I was sitting in a
hospital room at 7:30 am, and somebody comes [laughing]
and knocks on my door and wants to watch me
eat breakfast, I mean, I would probably
be kind of irritated. So, I go in. I’m super smiley.
I say, “Hi, my name is Faith. I’m a speech and
swallowing therapist.” When you’re in the hospital,
you’re already in a situation that you don’t want to be in.
You don’t feel good. You’re getting poked
and prodded all the time. These situations
can be very intense. It’s like night and day: They lose a lot of
their independence. For me, one of
the things I love most about speech therapy,
specifically working with people with swallowing disorders,
is that so many things have to be in order for your
swallow to work. The slightest thing can
kind of throw it all off. The research is
constantly changing. There are these
new methods to try. There’s an investigative
piece towards it. And you have to be a person
who’s interested in details. You have to be a
people person, I think. You have to enjoy working with
your coworkers and with patients and other disciplines. So, there are a lot
of moving parts to it, and I like all of them. To me, the anatomy and
physiology piece is what really gets me,
and investigating. And then I love when you
see somebody at bedside, and you’re giving them
things to eat and drink. You’re seeing these things, and
you’re like, mm, does that mean what I think it means?
I don’t really know. And then, if appropriate,
you can actually figure out by doing an
instrumental assessment. What I saw at bedside and
what I thought was happening, was it actually happening? The exciting thing is, is that
we have the opportunity to make sure that people are
able to eat and drink safely or give them
strategies to help them. Whereas, if we weren’t in
the hospital, either nobody would be doing it, or there
wouldn’t be somebody skilled and specialized who has
the education and training to be able to make it happen.

1 comment

  1. Wow! What a great description of the role of SLPs in swallowing therapy. I hope this gets shared with a lot of people.

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