Senatobia Healthcare & Rehab News Blog

Author Archive

What is the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PPDM) Taking Effect in October 2019?

Patient Driven Payment Model

2019 is underway, and now is a great time to think about the changes that are coming down the pipe from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). These new patient-driven payment model rules affect Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) and Home Health Providers. Here’s what you need to know about how these healthcare changes will affect nursing homes in the coming months.

The Patient-Driven Payment Model: SNF Medicare Payments

The most significant change facing this segment of the healthcare industry is the patient-driven payment model, which is slated to roll out October of 2019. According to CMS, this model places a new emphasis “on the patient’s condition and resulting care needs. Rather than on the amount of care provided to determine Medicare payment.”

The change presents a noticeable shift toward value for nursing home and therapy facilities. Which means skilled nursing facilities will now have an incentive to evaluate a person’s total condition before determining whether or not that person is receiving the right care.

This promotes a more cohesive care model and disincentivizes care models where every task is carefully recorded and submitted for payment. Which is creating a waterfall of paperwork that’s virtually impossible to keep up with.

The 3 Primary Impacts of PDPM on Nursing Facilities

According to Optima Healthcare Solutions, PDPM will affect establishments in the following three ways:

  1. Managing care. Unlike RUG-IV, which prompts high-volume care, PDPM will require establishments to pay close attention to how they deliver services. If a facility over-delivers therapy, it won’t be paid for the care that was provided. Likewise, under-delivering therapy in a way that leads to poor patient outcomes will result in potential Medicare audits and take-backs.
  2. Staffing. Thanks to the reduction of total therapy minutes, there will be a decreased demand for therapists in the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) setting. This, in turn, will reduce the labor shortage companies trying to find qualified staff experience. It will also make it easier for facilities to locate and retain top therapy talent.
  3. Financial. The mission of PDPM is to be budget neutral, which is especially likely in SNFs. Thanks to some new nursing allocations, SNFs are going to be able to offset the loss in therapy reimbursement with reimbursement for the nursing care that is already being provided.

The Positive Changes For Rehabilitation Facilities

According to most therapy settings, the introduction of the new patient-driven payment model is a good thing. This allows nursing home staff and care teams to take a more holistic, better-rounded approach to care. CMS is aiming to emphasize patient outcomes while also reducing the likelihood of penalties.

While care staff at Senatobia and throughout Mississippi will still have to use due diligence to classify patients. CMS will be there to help guide care and provide reimbursement thresholds for rehabilitation facilities. This program has the potential to positively impact both customers and care providers alike. Our team here at Senatobia looks forward to seeing what else the industry has in store for the coming year.

Want to learn more about the PDPM? Contact Senatobia today to find out how it will impact you or your loved one in care.

Continue Reading

Caregiver Self-Care: 4 Ways Caregivers Can Support Themselves

caregiver selfcare support

If you’ve ever acted as a caregiver for a person with dementia or Alzheimer’s, you know how important it is for caregivers to protect their health as they care for their patients. In fact, it’s critical.

Today, caregivers are much more likely than non-caregivers to succumb to a wide assortment of health issues, including anxiety, depression, and burnout.

Today, 15.7 million family members are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia. What’s more, 43.5 million caregivers have provided unpaid care in the last 12 months. These caregivers spend an average of 13 days each month on caregiving tasks. 46% of them perform medical and nursing tasks, and 96% provide help with ADLs. These caregivers provide critical care. Unfortunately, they also have incredibly high rates of burnout and stress-related illnesses.

If caregivers are going to avoid these conditions, and provide the comprehensive care their patients deserve, self-care is essential.

How Caregiver Health Impacts Patient Care

Caring for adults with neurodegenerative diseases can be exhausting.

Coping with things like wandering and behavioral issues can leave you stressed and sleep-deprived. In time, this can lead to serious mental and emotional health issues, including anxiety and depression.

As it stands today, caregivers (both family and nursing home-based caregivers) are 4x more likely than their counterparts to experience depression, and three times more likely to seek treatment for anxiety. While these conditions have devastating impacts on the caregiver, they can also impact the quality of patient care, and create a dangerous environment for both caregivers and patients.

4 Ways Caregivers can Practice Self-Care

We’ve all heard the saying that we need to put our oxygen masks on, first, before we can help other people. Nowhere is this more true than caregiving. When you get the support you need, patients, caregivers, and families thrive.

With that in mind, here are four ways to care for yourself, in the midst of your demanding job:

  1. Be Realistic About Limitations. You’re not an island, and nobody can do everything on their own. As such, it’s critical for caregivers to understand their limitations and learn to ask for help. Accepting limitations is a great way to avoid burnout and the issues that come with it.
  2. Prioritize. Prioritizing is an excellent way to avoid missing out on the things that are most important to you. If you know that spending time with friends refreshes and recharges you, make sure you’re prioritizing this and creating time for it in your life.
  3. Know Your Resources. There are dozens of resources out there for caregivers, and knowing what they are can help you avoid burnout. Local resources like support groups and interim care can help you ensure excellent patient care, while also giving yourself the support you need.
  4. Take Care of Your Body. If you’re not getting enough sleep, food, or water, it will be virtually impossible to be a great caregiver. With this in mind, make sure you’re getting to the gym, eating healthy, well-rounded meals, and making time for sleep. If your body doesn’t work, nothing else will, either.

Caring for the Caregiver

Caregivers have a challenging job, and self-care is a critical part of performing it well.

If you’re a caregiver and are looking for ways to provide better care, contact Senatobia Healthcare & Rehab. Our nurses and caregivers receive ongoing training and attention, so they’re excellent resources for learning, support, and, in the event your loved one needs it, assisted living. Caregiving is one of the world’s most challenging and rewarding jobs, and it’s at the center of what we do.

Contact us today to learn more.

Continue Reading

5 Tips For Your Best Life in a Senior Facility

best life at a senior facility

Happiness: we all want it. Most of us spend our lives looking for it. We know where it exists – in our families, in the things we love, in our favorite pursuits. But what about a senior facility? Is it possible to find happiness there? What happens when someone leaves the family home and moves into a nursing care facility?

While many people see nursing care, retirement, and old age as the end of an era, it can be the start of a new chapter. The only thing that separates the two realities is your perception.

Finding Happiness in Nursing Care: 5 Actionable Tips

Adjusting to life in a retirement community can be difficult. If you’re committed to happiness, though, these five tips can help you enjoy this new chapter of your life. After all, why not make the rest of your life the best of your life?

1. Commit to a Happy Life

The first step is to commit to your new lifestyle. If you’ve moved into nursing care, you’ll only make the transition harder by looking back behind you. Instead, start every day with a commitment to making the best of your new home.

As you’ll soon find, there are dozens of perks that come with living in a retirement community. You can kiss lawn work goodbye, for example!

2. Find the Activities That Interest You

One of the biggest perks of nursing care is that these facilities offer a huge assortment of resources, classes, learning opportunities, and more. If you’ve always wanted to try painting, you can probably find a group that does it.

The same goes for dance, yoga, book clubs, and more. When you focus on activities that keep the mind and body active, you have more fun and enjoy your new space that much more.

3. Schedule Regular Family Visits

Family is one of the best places to find ongoing happiness. With this in mind, schedule regular social outings, family visits, and meetings with friends outside the nursing community. In addition to that, get proactive about making friends within the community. The more you can build your social circle, the happier you’ll be.

Plus, research shows that social interaction reduces the rates of cognitive decline, depression, anxiety, and more.

4. Eat Well

Most nursing care facilities take care of cooking for you. This gives you a great opportunity to eat healthy without worrying about cooking and dishes.

When you eat outside the facility, focus on feeding yourself well. You are what you eat, and a diet full of healthy, nutritious food will boost your health and wellbeing throughout.

5. Give Yourself Something to Look Forward To

Old age doesn’t mean you stop doing the things you love. Instead, use your newfound free time to dedicate yourself to volunteer work, a mission, helping others, taking care of something or someone, or doing something that gives you a purpose in life.

While adjusting to your new space can be challenging, turning your love and attention outwards is a wonderful way to channel your selflessness and happiness each and every day.

Quality Nursing Care in Mississippi

We understand that the transition to nursing care is not an easy one, for aging people and their families. Here at Senatobia Healthcare, our team provides compassionate, human-to-human long-term care for you or your loved ones.

We’ll go out of our way to help you find things you love to do, keep your sense of wonder alive, and enjoy your transition as much as possible. Contact us today to learn more.

Continue Reading

What is the Difference Between a CNA, an RN, and an LPN?

differences between CNA, LPN, and RN

In healthcare, acronyms are everywhere. PA. MSW. CNA. RN, LPN. While these acronyms are meant to designate different levels of care, deciphering them can feel impossible.

The last three, especially, are essential for anyone curious about caring for the aging and related requirements. So, here’s what you need to know about the difference between a CNA, LPN, and RN.

Registered Nurse vs. Licensed Practical Nurse

While the names sound similar, there are many differences between RNs and LPNs.

While LPNs typically provide primary nursing care to ensure patient comfort, RNs receive a higher level of nursing education and training. Because of this, RN nurses are qualified to administer medication, advanced treatments, and educational materials to patients and families.

Here’s a brief breakdown of the job duties for each type of nurse:

LPNs

  • Providing basic medical care, such as checking and recording vital signs
  • Inserting catheters
  • Ensuring patient comfort and helping with activities of daily living (ADLs)
  • Discussing health care and treatment plans with patients and families
  • Reporting vital patient information to nurses and doctors

RNs

  • Administering medication and treatment to patients
  • Working with doctors and PAs to coordinate patient care plans
  • Performing diagnostic tests and interpret results
  • Overseeing other nursing staff, such as LPNs, nursing aides, and home health aides
  • Helping patients, families, and caregivers establish plans for ongoing care

What is a CNA?

A CNA, or Certified Nursing Assistant, typically will attend less school than either an RN or LPN. Regardless, they are a critical part of the healthcare environment, and many focus on more aging education requirements than either LPNs or RNs.

Serving as the frontline contact between medical staff and patients, CNAs often work in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. These nurses help patients bathe, dress, eat, use the bathroom, and maintain their dignity in a wide assortment of ways. Because of this they are highly sought after in the Nursing Home Industry.

CNAs may also dispense medication, and are often the principal caregivers in residential care facilities. And, with their specialized training, many work in home health care, as well.

High-Quality Healthcare With Senatobia

RNs, LPNs, and CNAs all serve critical purposes in the healthcare environment. Here at Senatobia Healthcare and Rehabilitation, we understand that. Our entire organizational mission is dedicated to “Compassionate Care.”

The Senatobia Healthcare staff and nurses focus on education, experience, and helping patients improve their quality of life. Our fully-staffed Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Staff work alongside our nursing staff to help people get and stay as healthy, and independent as possible. Both mentally and physically.

If you or a loved one experiences care at Senatobia, you’ll see this commitment to compassionate care firsthand. If you’re a caretaker looking for a new opportunity, we invite you to consider our Center. We’re always looking for good caregivers with a deep commitment to patient care. Our culture of “Compassionate Care” creates a rewarding work environment for caregivers and staff, as well as everyone we treat. Contact us today to learn more about our job opportunities.

Continue Reading

Understanding the Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Dementia and Alzheimer's

As we age, most of us expect to lose some functionality. We know that our muscles will change, that we may experience balance issues, that we’ll probably stop driving at some point, and that many of us will need help and may wind up in some form of assisted living.

But what about our mental capabilities?

If you’re familiar with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, you know that these common conditions can affect people as they age. What most people don’t understand, though, is how common these conditions are or that there are actually some very important differences between the two.

Here’s what you need to know.

What is the Difference Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia?

While most people group Alzheimer’s and dementia into a single bucket, they’re not the same disease. While dementia is a blanket term used to describe a host of disorders that affect memory, daily activities, and performance, Alzheimer’s is a more specific kind of dementia. In fact, it is the most common type of dementia. Right now, Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. It’s also important to remember that Alzheimer’s is a disease and dementia is a syndrome.

While it’s possible for young people to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, the risk for each increases dramatically during the aging process. Additionally, people can have more than one type of dementia, while Alzheimer’s is a single condition.

Signs of Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Wondering how to spot the early indicators of dementia or Alzheimer’s in yourself or a loved one? Here are the signs to watch for:

  • Memory Loss. No matter how old you are, it’s normal to experience occasional, mild memory loss. These “brain farts” don’t impact your overall life or put other people in danger. They’re as simple as forgetting your keys or being temporarily unable to recall someone’s name. Memory loss related to Alzheimer’s or dementia, however, is quite severe and ongoing and will disrupt your daily life. Think things like leaving the stove on or getting lost while you drive.

  • Challenges With Everyday Tasks. If everyday tasks, like paying bills, getting dressed, cleaning the house, or cooking a meal have suddenly become difficult, it’s time to take notice. Alzheimer’s and dementia both cause concentration and focus difficulties that become more severe over time.

  • Confusion About Time or Place. While it’s normal to think it’s Thursday when it’s actually Wednesday, it’s not normal to lose track of dates, passages of time, or seasons. These are some of the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Senatobia Healthcare: Your Partner in Dementia Care

Nobody wants to experience dementia. This condition affects about 5% of the older population, though, and rates are expected to double by 2020. If you or a loved one are experiencing early signs of dementia, Senatobia Healthcare can provide the resources, information about possible treatments, and care you need to keep life moving forward. Contact us today to learn more.

Continue Reading

How to Understand and Cope with the Aging Process

aging process

Betty Friedan once said, “Aging is not ‘lost youth’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” Unfortunately, it can be tough to see it that way when you’re right in the midst of it, or when you’re watching a loved one move through the aging process.

Between limited physical abilities, changing lifestyles and bodies, and the mental and emotional challenges that come with growing older, it’s no wonder aging can be so difficult for everyone affected by it.

Fortunately, it is possible to navigate the aging process gracefully and to help your loved ones do the same. Here’s what you need to know:

What Happens During the Aging Process?

The process of getting older is filled with seemingly baffling changes and shifts. Here are some of the most common, according to MedLine:

“As aging continues, waste products build up in tissue… Connective tissue changes, becoming stiffer. This makes the organs, blood vessels, and airways more rigid. Cell membranes change, so many tissues have more trouble getting oxygen and nutrients and removing carbon dioxide and other wastes. Many tissues lose mass. This process is called atrophy. Some tissues become lumpy (nodular) or more rigid. Because of cell and tissue changes, organs also change as you age. Aging organs slowly lose function. Most people do not notice this loss immediately, because you rarely need to use your organs to their fullest ability.”

Because of these physical changes, many people also lose independence during the aging process, moving out of their family homes and into long – or short-term care facilities.

How to Help Your Parents Through the Aging Process

Currently, there are about 10 million adult children in the U.S. who are caring for their aging parents. If you’re one of them, you’re probably looking for any tips you can find about how to help your parents navigate their golden years as enjoyable as possible. Here are a few things our staff recommends:

  • Enlist Community Support. It takes a village to help someone age gracefully. With this in mind, don’t be afraid to enlist the support of your friends or family. Have the neighbor check on your parents when you’re out of town, start a meal train, and encourage your parents to get involved with community events and activities to stay active and sharp.

  • Keep up With Doctor’s Visits. As your parents get older, be sure they’re keeping up on their doctor’s appointments. This is a great way to prevent needless issues from arising and detect small problems before they become big ones.

  • Look for Warning Signs. Helping your parents age is as much about looking for danger signs as it is promoting independence. If your parent starts wandering, getting lost, forgetting things like time, dates, or directions, or exhibiting behavior that is likely to be dangerous to themselves or someone else, it’s time to call in additional help. In these cases, physical therapy, a nursing home, and other such resources can help prevent or reverse declining health.

Aging Can be Graceful

Here at Senatobia Health Care, we are a short and long-term care facility.  Our goal is to help slow the aging process and promote health and wellbeing (for older adults and the children of aging parents, as well), well into the golden years. Call us today to learn how our Mississippi caregivers can help you or a loved one stay healthy and independent for as long as possible.

Continue Reading

What You Should Know About Physical Therapy

physical therapy benefits

Here’s what you need to know about the process of working with physical therapists, and how critical the process is to healthcare as a whole.

For many people, the idea of physical therapy is a foreign one. Often associated with accidents, strokes and aging, it is frequently seen as something designed for people with extreme injuries or illnesses.  But did you know that its benefits extend far beyond rehabilitation? Yes – physical therapy can help you heal from a traumatic health event, but it can also strengthen muscles, promote independence, and encourage better balance and improved health.

The Benefits of Physical Therapy

While physical therapy is an effective treatment for people recovering from accidents or strokes, its benefits stretch far beyond that. According to the National Institutes of Health, physical therapy can improve balance and strength and boost overall fitness and mobility. These are things that all aging people can benefit from, as each of those perks will promote independence and long-term comfort and health.

Want to learn more? Here are a few other benefits of PT:

  • Improved Balance. Did you know that adults lose 10% of their strength and balance for every decade that passes after the 30s? As it stands now, one in four Americans over the age of 65 will fall each year. Falling is currently one of the primary risks facing the aging population. Fortunately, physical therapy can help reduce this risk. By improving balance and strength, PT can make falls less likely and promote long-term health.
  • Better Social Interaction. Senior isolation can be a real risk for the mental and emotional health of the aging population. Fortunately, physical therapy provides structure and social interaction, both of which can promote happiness and wellbeing.
  • Independence. Even for seniors who have not suffered an accident or stroke, physical therapy promotes wellbeing and can help support independence. Because of this, many seniors who want to live on their own for as long as possible utilize physical therapy as a prophylactic measure.

How to Get the Most out of Physical Therapy

Are you or a loved one considering physical therapy? If so, there are a few simple “rules” that will help you get the most out of the process. The first is to maintain a positive attitude.

Physical therapy can be a tough process, and it will push your physical boundaries. No matter how hard it gets, though, it’s critical to maintain a healthy attitude and be positive about your course of treatment. This will improve your results and help you create the change you want to see.

Maintaining open communication is also essential. Your relationship with your physical therapist will become a close one. Ask the questions you have about your health and treatment. Express your concerns and roadblocks. Be grateful for your changes. As you move through your therapy process, this communication will help ensure you’re getting a comprehensive treatment plan that works for you.

Physical Therapy: A Critical Form of Healthcare

For seniors, stroke survivors, anyone who has suffered an accident, and people who simply want to promote independence, physical therapy is a great option. Designed to promote balance, graceful aging, and long-term strength and mobility, PT is good for the mind, body, and heart.

At Senatobia Healthcare and Rehab we honor and appreciate the hard work of our PT’s and PTA’s.  Every year during the month of October is National Physical Therapy Month (#ChoosePT).  This is an especially opportune time to celebrate and  “Thank a Physical Therapist”!

To learn more about physical therapy or to speak with one of our experienced physical therapists, contact our team today!

Continue Reading

Senatobia Healthcare’s New “Dreamcatcher Program”

At Senatobia Healthcare and Rehab we’re all about helping our Residents fulfill their dreams. Learn about our Dreamcatcher Program here!

As people age, the common misconception is that their hopes and dreams age with them. While someone may have once wanted to be an astronaut, the assumption is that they don’t have any desires like that now that they’re in their golden years.

Unfortunately, this assumption is entirely unfounded, and can actually be very damaging to the aging population and the people that love them!

When we treat older people like they don’t have any dreams or aspirations, we deny them an essential part of their humanity, and we do ourselves a disservice in the process. Senatobia Healthcare & Rehab is out to buck that stereotype and take aging care in a new direction.  We believe in honoring the willingness to dream and will take the steps to fulfill them, no matter the age.

What is the Dreamcatcher Program?

The Dreamcatcher is a program that identifies the unfulfilled dreams of our Center’s nursing home residents and works to make them come true. By working with organizations in the community and matching them with seniors pushing toward their goals, we create an environment that focuses on helping peoples’ dreams come true at any age.

Dreamcatcher Success Stories

Wondering what effect the Dreamcatcher program has had? Here are a few recent success stories:

Emma Dean

Local nursing home resident Emma Dean is a retired beautician and a resident at Senatobia Healthcare & Rehab. Recently, she participated in our Dreamcatcher program to spend a day living out her ultimate dream.

Ms. Dean’s biggest dream was to enjoy a day doing what she loved most –  being back in the beauty salon. Our Center’s Dreamcatcher Team heard this, put their heads down, and went to work.

Vanessa Morgan, our Staff Development Coordinator, worked with Veltis Walton of D’z Hair & Beyond Salon in Batesville and together they set out to fulfill Ms. Dean’s dream. Thanks to their efforts and those of the entire Dreamcatcher staff, Ms. Dean spent a full, blissful day socializing and interacting with the salon staff.   She also learned some new hairstyling techniques, like straightening hair using flat irons.

After her visit, Ms. Dean was beaming and happy with her salon experience. “I really enjoyed myself! This is just what I needed. It was like a dose of medicine!”

Kathleen Toliver

Currently a nursing home resident at Senatobia Healthcare and Rehab, Kathleen Toliver had a lifelong dream of recording her own music album. Thanks to our Dreamcatcher Program, she was finally able to fulfill that dream!

Miss Toliver worked with Hernando, Miss., music recording studio operator Danny Childress to record some of Toliver’s favorite tunes, including Orville Frizzell’s “Long Black Veil,” and Tom T. Hall’s “Washed My Face in the Morning Dew.”

A More Compassionate Approach to Senior Health

Senatobia Healthcare & Rehab is focused on rehabilitation, health, and happiness. We are very proud to announce our Dreamcatcher Program and to continue focusing on quality of life and dignity for all residents, their dreams, and their families. Want to learn more? Contact us today.

Continue Reading

The Most Common Rehabilitation Needs for Older Adults (and How to Prevent Them)

Older Adults Physical Therapy

While aging looks different for everyone, there are three common conditions that create a need for rehabilitation for older adults. Learn more about each (and how you can avoid them) here.

As we age, our bodies start to wear down. It’s an unfortunate truth, but it’s something we all go through eventually. In most cases, this gradual breakdown is normal and does not impair the activities of daily living as an older adult.

Many seniors remain mobile and independent well into their golden years. In other situations, though, conditions like balance problems and strokes, or the injuries caused by accidents like falls can create a dynamic that requires physical therapy or rehabilitation.

In these cases, extended care is typically necessary, and may be the only way a person can get back to health and continue to live independently.

While not all of these situations are preventable, there are certain preventative actions you and your loved ones can take to ensure health in the long-term.

The 3 Most Common Conditions That Require Nursing Care

From injuries to chronic conditions, these are the most common situations that may land seniors in long-term care or rehabilitation:

1. Strokes

Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Each year, upwards of 140,000 people die from strokes. Beyond that, though, they are the leading cause of long-term disability in this country, with more than 795,000 people suffering strokes annually.

Depending on their severity, strokes can cause slurred speech, impaired movement, and paralysis. After suffering a stroke, most patients go through physical therapy or nursing care to regain strength and re-integrate into their normal lives.

2. Balance Problems

According to Move Forward, a division of the American Physical Therapy Association, balance problems affect 75% of older adults ages 70 plus. While these vary in severity, they can be crippling and can lead to ongoing problems with strength and stability.

When balance problems reach an unstable level, physical therapy is often required to help the senior fix muscle weakness and joint stiffness, and regain the strength needed to live independently or semi-independently.

3. Falls

Falls are very common among people ages 65 and older. In fact, NCOA (The National Council on Aging) reports that one in four Americans ages 65 and older fall annually, and that American emergency rooms treat a senior for a fall every 11 minutes. Falls can cause injury and have a heavy impact on quality of life.

Broken hips, chronic pain, and disability are all potential side effects of falls and can make it difficult for a senior to maintain independence without physical therapy or nursing care.

How to Avoid Needing Rehabilitation as Older Adults (or Speed the Healing Process)

While not all conditions are avoidable, these tips can help seniors stay healthy and speed up healing throughout the golden years:

  • Stay active. The more active a senior stays, the lower the risk of injury. Regular activity keeps the heart and bones healthy and can help ward off balance problems and muscle atrophy.
  • See a doctor regularly. It’s recommended older adults see a primary care provider on a regular basis. This can help prevent major health incidents and deliver preventative care.
  • Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet is one of the best ways to prevent strokes, heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions that often necessitate rehabilitation.


Want to learn more about staying healthy as you age? Visit our blog to read the latest news.

Continue Reading

Benefits of Speech Therapy After a Stroke

Brain missing a piece representing benefits of speech therapy after a stroke

One of the most traumatic effects of a stroke is losing the ability to communicate, a condition known as aphasia. Up to 40 percent of all stroke victims have their ability to speak or understand speech affected to some degree. Thankfully, speech therapy can help patients regain some or all of this important function.

Communication Problems from a Stroke

A stroke, sometimes called a “brain attack,” occurs when a blockage or burst blood vessel prevents blood from flowing to parts of the brain. The resulting lack of oxygen can quickly cause large numbers of cells in the brain to die. Depending on the area affected, damage from a stroke can cause any number of physical and mental changes.

When a stroke causes damage in one of the areas of the brain dedicated to producing or understanding speech, victims may experience trouble communicating with others. The severity of this impairment varies widely from patient to patient. Some victims may only have minor difficulties, while others may suffer a complete loss of all verbal abilities.

Speech Therapy Benefits

According to the National Stroke Association, nearly two-thirds of the estimated seven million stroke survivors in the United States end up with some level of disability. Receiving rehabilitative treatment by physical, occupational and speech therapists can significantly improve these disabilities.

Senatobia Healthcare & Rehab speech therapists note that working with survivors in the first few weeks after suffering a stroke often helps them to make big improvements in their abilities. Research corroborates these observations, showing that patients who immediately work with a speech-language therapist have an increased opportunity to regain speech and other functions.

What to Expect in Speech Therapy Sessions

Speech therapy sessions typically start with an assessment to establish a baseline of how the stroke has affected the patient’s communication abilities. The assessment includes tests to measure difficulty speaking, understanding speech and reading. Using the results of this assessment, therapists recommend an individualized recovery plan for the stroke victim.

For example, some patients have difficulty understanding the meanings of words spoken to them, known as receptive aphasia. In these cases, the speech therapist may ask the patient to match words to pictures, sort words based on meaning, and judge whether certain words have the same meaning.

For patients that have difficulty speaking words, known as expressive aphasia, speech therapists may ask them to describe their surroundings or repeat simple sounds or phrases. This strengthens the patient’s ability to remember the meanings of different words and connect them to both the spoken and written forms.

Family Involvement in Speech Therapy

For some patients, involving a loved one in the recovery process can be an effective way to improve the results of therapy. Therefore, speech therapists often invite family members to participate in sessions and observe the exercises. Family members are also provided with written instructions for exercises they can practice with their loved one at home between sessions.

The best way to prevent damage from a stroke, however, is learning to recognize the signs of a stroke and immediately seek medical attention when you see them. In 2009, the National Stroke Association popularized the acronym F.A.S.T. to help improve recognition of these symptoms:

  • F = FACE — Ask the person to smile. Look closely for an uneven smile or pronounced drooping on one side.
  • A = ARMS — Ask the person to raise both arms in the air and hold them there for a few seconds. Look for one arm drifting towards the ground or weakness on one side.
  • S = — SPEECH Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Listen for slurred speech or unusual speech patterns.
  • T = TIME — If you observe any of these signs, don’t wait! It’s time to call 9-1-1 and get to the nearest stroke center or hospital.

For Compassionate Care After a Stroke Choose Senatobia Healthcare & Rehab

Our Baldridge Award-winning skilled nursing facility has been owned and operated by the same family since 1978. We provide both short- and long-term care and we strive to restore our residents to independent living as quickly as possible. Reach out to us to schedule a tour and see if our highly-trained medical care team is right for you and your loved ones.

Continue Reading

ADMISSIONS: 662.562.5664