Not really dysphagia related……

I figure since I work with people with a variety of diagnoses, I would post about a recent encounter.  I had a patient come in for an evaluation a little over a year ago.  Without giving too much information, this patient has a family and has not been able to communicate since birth.

At first, my thought was, what the heck will I do with this patient.  I have not done anything AAC related in years.

Welcome the iPad and the amazingly wonderful Verbally app, which has a free, very functional version.

My patient loved this app from the first minute.  She was able to communicate in full sentences at an adult level.  One thing my patient insisted on not having a picture communication system.  She is an adult and wants to communicate as such.

After much deliberation, assessment and communication with my patient, we decided that the Lightwriter from Dynavox was a good device for her.  I wrote up the assessment and by the time I got the doctor to sign everything, it was April.  (Evaluation was completed in January).  Since insurance would not purchase the iPad as it is not a dedicated speech generating device, we sent the information to Dynavox.

It took a long time……..finally by the summer, the area representative came to visit us and showed my patient the Maestro.  She loved it.  Apparently Verbally was designed based on the Maestro.  She could use this device for everything and would finally be able to communicate with her family.

I changed the paperwork as such and sent it in.  And waited………and waited………..and waited.

Apparently there were some things that needed to be signed.  I had turned in everything that was listed on the website and had everything in order to get my patient this device.

So the rep was going to come and go over the paperwork with me.  Make sure we had everything.  He was coming on such and such day at whatever time.

He never showed up, never called.  I even sent him a message saying I had to leave because I have my own family I need to get home to, but to please call me when he was able to come in.

That phone call was never returned.

Apparently at some point without me or my patient being notified, her case was closed.  We didn’t have the correct paperwork in and apparently I was answering messages that were never sent to me.

In a last ditch effort, I made contact through Twitter.  Amazingly enough my rep contacted me the next day.  I returned his call and said I just didn’t know what paperwork was needed.  I left a message to please call me back so that we could go over this paperwork.  That was December 21.

I have never heard back from him.

My patient came in and said forget it.  They were going to buy an iPad with their tax return.  If I could help them set it up.  I said I would be more than happy to do that for them.  They were very understanding on my part and very irritated with Dynavox.

I sent Dynavox a letter.  Shame on them for letting my patient go for so long thinking she was getting this device and they never did anything to help us.

Maybe not so much shame on them as on my rep.  He knew I had no idea what I was doing with the AAC paperwork.  I told him as much.  HE let the ball drop on it and HE is the one who lost out on a great customer.

I would like to thank Verbally however.  The paid version of the app was donated to my patient without question.  The look on my patient’s face when she had her iPad, with Verbally downloaded and was able to communicate was a priceless moment that our Dynavox rep could have been a part of.

Apparently we weren’t important enough.

Thank goodness Verbally thought my patient was worth it and was worth the investment for communication.

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