Jane Todd Crawford Hospital’s Rehabilitation Services include physical, speech and occupational therapy, through the services of a trained and licensed physical therapist, two physical therapy assistants, a speech therapist and an occupational therapist.
What are the benefits of these services? For the elderly, in particular, they have far-reaching positive effects.
Physical therapy can greatly improve mobility and motion, two things that older adults, as well as people with chronic conditions, often struggle with. Physical therapy can also help you recover from, or cope with, stroke, total hip replacement, total knee replacement, COPD or other debilitating and life-changing conditions.
A physical therapist is a trusted health care professional who can help you address health challenges, and recover from an injury or illness. In many cases, physical therapists can even help you do all of these things without the use of any medication.
One of the most important things a physical therapist can do for older adults is help them improve their balance and decrease risk of falls. A physical therapist may recommend activities that emphasize strength, flexibility, and proper gait, which help improve ability to walk safely.
Occupational therapy is a service provided to assist individuals to regain independence and improve ability to complete daily activities such as self care (bathing and dressing), feeding, toileting, kitchen and homemaking.
For example, an occupational therapist may assist a patient who has suffered from a stroke, leaving them with a weakened or non-functional limb, re-learn to dress themselves. The therapists may also recommend assistive devices that enable a patient to compensate for loss of function. Hand splints may also be provided to assist with supporting an extremity.
Occupational therapists also teach compensatory strategies such as energy conservation and work simplification.
Populations served include, but are not limited, to: CVA (stroke), COPD, total hip replacement and total knee replacements/repair, general debility associated with any extended hospital stay, shoulder injury/repair, brain injury, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders.
Speech therapy for seniors is often necessary when recovering from the debilitating consequences of a stroke or dementia. It may also be necessary after a head injury.
Speech therapy for the elderly can help with speech issues due to the natural aging process. As one grows older, vocal cords can become less elastic and larynx muscles can weaken, making it difficult to talk in a manner they are accustomed to. Speech therapy for seniors can help them re-learn how to speak, using vocal exercises to help them communicate effectively once again.
A speech-language pathologist is trained to focus on speech, language, voice, cognition and swallowing problems with the geriatric population.
Several diseases, conditions, or surgical interventions can result in swallowing problems at any age. Some causes for swallowing disorders in adults are damage to the nervous system, such as: stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Also included are problems affecting the head and neck, including: cancer in the mouth, throat or esophagus; injury or surgery involving the head and neck; and decayed or missing teeth, or poorly fitting dentures are also causes of swallowing problems.
As a result, a patient may have: poor nutrition or dehydration; risk of aspiration (food or liquid entering the airway), which can lead to pneumonia and chronic lung disease; and less enjoyment of eating or drinking.
Treatment depends on the cause, symptom, and type of swallowing problem. A speech-language pathologist may recommend: specific swallowing treatment (e.g., exercises to improve muscle movement), positions or strategies to help the individual swallow more effectively, or specific food and liquid textures that are easier and safer to swallow.