Danielle Jones and Laura Vice both have their mothers to thank for helping them find the path toward the field of speech-language pathology. Danielle’s mom had a close friend who worked with special needs children, and Laura’s mom was a registered nurse who worked alongside speech-language pathologists (SLPs). These connections fueled their mutual drive to help others.
Danielle and Laura make up the SLP team at CarDon & Associates’ senior living community in Westfield. They recently received the honor of being highlighted in the “Champions Corner” section of Accelerated Care Plus’ newsletter, In Sync, which revolves around the Synchrony Dysphagia Rehabilitation Program.
Dysphagia means difficulty swallowing, and with the Synchrony machine, SLPs can visualize patients’ swallow activity. A Bluetooth-enabled electrode placed on a patient’s neck connects to the machine, allowing SLPs to visualize muscle activity using surface electromyography biofeedback and improve patients’ clinical outcomes.
“Seeing their physical process motivates patients and makes their goals seem more achievable,” Danielle said. “It encourages them to stick to our exercises.”
Laura recalls a 78-year-old, who suffered from a brain hemorrhage, with dysphagia being NPO (no food or drink by mouth) and returning to a regular diet after just one month of exercises.
In addition to swallowing, Danielle and Laura help patients with difficulty speaking, which is particularly vital right now.
“Communication is key during this time of increased isolation,” Danielle said.
“Being able to help a patient say, ‘I love you,’ to a family member has a timeless importance, but it’s especially important during difficult times like these,” Laura added. “Seeing such vital improvement is so rewarding. We witness patients who were once on feeding tubes getting to go out and have dinner with their families.”
In addition to helping them improve their speaking ability, Danielle and Laura have been helping patients set up Facetime calls with their loved ones, giving them a sense of normalcy and comfort amid quarantining and social distancing.
“It’s all about bettering their lives, however we can,” Danielle said.