Patients who suffer from COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, dysarthria and other conditions that result in the use of supplemental oxygen often end up in a skilled nursing facility following hospitalization. While working with physical therapy and occupational therapy, their breathing deficits often go unaddressed, resulting in permanent use and dependance on oxygen therapy.
Early in my career as a young SNF SLP, I was fortunate enough to have a more seasoned therapist who diligently targeted this area of speech production and how it affects many different areas of speech, language and swallowing. She taught me some treatment strategies and we worked together to problem solve many cases that were common in the SNF and LTC setting. This led to what would become one of my passions for the elderly: Increase their independence by decreasing their need for supplemental oxygen.
You can read more about how I assess and treat breath support in the SNF in this post by clicking here.
One of the strategies that I use after evaluating their maximum phonation time is targeting syllables produced per breath. I thought it would be fun to create new sentences with a Christmas twist. As my gift to you this holiday season, you can download them here for free!
I find it easier to demonstrate the breathing strategy (find out more here) and say the phrase aloud with the patient copying my lead. If patients have significant hearing impairment, it may be necessary to do this treatment in a quiet place. In my breath support book, I also have strips with large print available for patients to read aloud. These strips are similar to my reminisce strips and can be used for co-treatment with PT and OT like we did in this post.
I love hearing success stories and am always open to questions and suggestions. Please feel free to comment below with ideas and strategies that work well for your patients.
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