Dysphagia Awareness

June is Dysphagia Awareness month. This is great, it really is. I love that we finally have a month. Dysphagia Awareness is so needed and so necessary in our field. We seriously need to have Dysphagia Awareness Day, everyday.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many patients I have that have never heard of dysphagia. When my patients have trouble with swallowing, they always tell me, I never knew that was a thing!

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Wrapping Up 2017

I always like to reflect on my year and all of my accomplishments (or all those tasks I have to carry over from my to-do list.  I also like to challenge myself for the next year and this year, I will challenge all of you as well!

A new year means new beginnings.  Everyone always jokes about how the current year has beaten them down and they’re hoping for better times in the new year.

  1.  Don’t let the new year lead you.  Grab it by the throat and own it!  There are so many new adventures in this new year, don’t be afraid to get to it!   Many people do the #onelittleword hashtag for the new year.   My #onelittleword for 2018 is #adventure as I adventure out into the world of private practice.
  2. If you’ve been doing therapy the same way for the past 20 years, maybe it’s time for a change.  When you think you know everything about dysphagia is when you need to brush up.  There have been so many changes and new findings.  Read some journal articles, start a journal club or join one if there is one in your area.  Keep updated on the latest in swallowing management and treatment.
  3. Stop taking continuing education courses because they’re free or convenient.  Find something that is worth the money.  That may be your state convention or the ASHA convention (in Boston in 2018).  If you want quality, you will have to pay.  It takes many, many hours to put together quality continuing education.  Some courses that I really enjoyed from 2017 or even developed are:

Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself in 2018!  Make this your year to do the best you can for your patients.

A Week As a Home Health SLP Part 4

exercise

Day 4 is Thursday.  I don’t have to work the weekends unless I want to work a Saturday or Sunday.  The great part of my job is that although I’m the only SLP for our area (job security!) I have a lot of flexibility!  I can schedule myself Tuesday through Saturday or Sunday through Thursday if I want to take off some time through the week and not use PTO.

I mentioned in previous posts that we have to take vitals for every patient.  There is a required section in our paperwork where we put in the patient’s vitals and we have a vital log in the home that we complete every visit so that the patient has a recorded list of their vitals.

We take blood pressure, temperature, respiratory rate and pulse.  We can check oxygen levels if there is a doctors order in the chart.  I wasn’t a fan of having to take vitals initially, however I have used that knowledge and the numbers to send 2 patients to the ER.   One of whom ended up with a trach due to respiratory distress.  It is very important to assess the patient overall prior to any treatment.

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A Week As A Home Health SLP Part 3

tablet

I have to admit, being a home health SLP is the first job I’ve had that I’ve had to take vitals for my patients.  Every clinician for our company is required to take blood pressure, temperature, respiratory rate and pulse.

At first I wasn’t too keen on having to take vitals.  I’m not a nurse nor am I a doctor.  After sending my first 2 patients to the hospital, I realized the importance of vitals and even though they do take some of my treatment time, I know they are important for patient care.

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