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Speech Therapy at Home

If your loved one has trouble communicating or difficulty swallowing, they may benefit from speech therapy. You may not need to go into a medical center for it, though – your loved one may be able to get speech therapy at home. What is speech therapy at home? Does Medicare pay for speech therapy at home? How can you tell if your loved one needs it? Read on for those answers and more.

What Is Speech Therapy at Home?

Used to improve communication, speech therapy is the assessment and treatment of speech disorders and communication problems [1]. It’s done by speech-language pathologists (SLPs), who are also called speech therapists. Speech therapy may be done in a healthcare facility or in the patient’s home.

Personally relevant items can help make therapy more effective. Meaningful belongings or photos can help stimulate conversations that would be harder to initiate in a sterile clinical environment.

What Types of Services Are Included With Speech Therapy at Home?

Speech therapy at home can help assess and treat things like:

  • Speech: articulation
  • Voice: characteristics of vocal tone
  • Fluency: cluttering or stuttering
  • Cognition: attention, memory, ability to solve problems
  • Auditory habilitation or rehabilitation: recovery techniques associated with hearing, speech, and language disorders

Types of Speech Therapy

There are many different types of speech therapy [2]. Here are some of the most common.

Speech Therapy for Aphasia

Aphasia is a result of brain damage and causes difficulty speaking. Many adults experience aphasia after having a stroke. Aphasia can also cause problems with reading, writing, and listening. Speech therapy for aphasia may include drills to improve specific language skills as well as writing and gestures to augment communication skills.

Speech Therapy for Swallowing Difficulty

Speech therapy isn’t just for talking. It can also help with swallowing difficulty, which some people develop as a result of age, illness, or injury. Speech therapy for swallowing difficulty involves exercises to improve chewing, increase tongue movement, and make the mouth stronger.

Speech Therapy for Stuttering

While stuttering usually develops during childhood, it can also affect adults. Since stuttering is typically considered a behavioral problem, speech therapy for stuttering includes teaching the person who stutters behavioral modification techniques – like speaking more slowly – to help control stuttering.

Speech Therapy for Apraxia

Apraxia involves difficulty making certain sounds or saying certain syllables. The speaker knows what they want to say but can’t seem to get it out correctly. Speech therapists evaluate people for apraxia using several tests, including:

  • Speech sound assessment to determine how well the person can pronounce various wounds.
  • Melody of speech assessment to see if the person can appropriately stress certain syllables and use pauses and pitch at the appropriate places in a sentence.
  • Oral-motor assessment to check for muscle weakness in the lips, jaw, or tongue.

“Since successful treatment for apraxia involves a lot of time and commitment, your therapist may give you assignments to practice with your [loved one].”

According to Kristin Hayes, RN from Very Well Health [2]:
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Passion Home Health Care Solutions is a Trusted Skilled Nursing Home Care Solutions provider in the Danville, South Boston, Roanoke, Alexandria, Fairfax, Loudoun, Newport News, Richmond and Vienna Virginia surrounding areas.

Speech Therapy at Home in Vienna, VA by Passion Home Health Solutions

What Are the Benefits of Speech Therapy at Home?

Speech therapy at home has many benefits, such as:

  • Caregiver participation improves outcomes. If you are helping care for a loved one with a speech or swallowing issue, watching the speech therapy appointments can help you do daily practice and coaching with your loved one.
  • Home is a safe place. When you or your loved one don’t need to worry about being in a new, uncomfortable environment, you can focus more on what you’re learning.
  • Personally relevant items can help make therapy more effective. Meaningful belongings or photos can help stimulate conversations that would be harder to initiate in a sterile clinical environment.
  • Familiar routines reinforce progress. For example, therapy sessions centered around bathing, meals, or diaper changes may be more useful than conversations in an office setting.
  • No need for the patient to travel. Whether you are still recovering from an illness or injury or your loved one is homebound, sometimes getting out for appointments can be difficult.
  • Reduces fatigue and stress. Without the stress and hassle of traveling to an office and experiencing that unfamiliar environment, the patient can put more energy into making progress with their speech therapy.

Does Medicare Pay for Speech Therapy at Home?

Medicare may pay for speech therapy at home if you meet certain eligibility requirements [3]:

  • Your doctor must certify that you are homebound,
  • You must be receiving services under a plan of care created and regularly reviewed by a doctor, AND
  • Your doctor certifies that you need speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, or intermittent skilled nursing care.
 

If you qualify for speech therapy at home, you will have to meet your Part B deductible, then pay 20% of the Medicare-Approved Amount [4]. Medicare law no longer limits how much it pays for your medically necessary outpatient therapy services in one calendar year.

Our experienced team of care management specialists are there to ensure the highest quality of care is consistently provided.

What Should I Look for in a Speech Therapy at Home Provider?

Speech Therapy at Home in Vienna, VA by Passion Home Health Solutions

Whether you’re looking for a speech therapist or another at-home care provider, the Mayo Clinic recommends asking these questions [5]:

  • What type of employee screening do you do? Does your agency have a list of doctors or other professionals who have worked with them?
  • Do you provide continuing education for your speech therapists and other employees?
  • Are the speech therapists licensed, accredited, and insured?
  • Does the speech therapist have a positive attitude?
  • How do you handle billing and expenses?
  • Do you provide resources for financial assistance?
  • Will the therapy be covered by Medicare or health insurance?
  • What procedures are in place for emergencies?
 

What Does a Speech Therapist Do?

A speech pathologist will evaluate a person to figure out what their needs are and create a customized care plan that may include things like:

  • Articulation
  • Voice techniques
  • Sign language
  • Problem-solving
  • Word-finding
  • Repetition
  • Cognition
  • Speech development
  • Reading
  • Language development
  • Swallowing techniques

How Can I Tell if My Loved One Needs Speech Therapy?

If you’re worried about your loved one’s ability to communicate, here are some signs it may be time for them to begin speech therapy:

  • Relying on nonverbal communication
  • Not responding to questions
  • Trouble managing personal, financial, or medical affairs
  • Voice hoarseness
  • Cognitive changes
  • Trouble swallowing or eating

References

  1. What Is Speech Therapy, Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/health/speech-therapy
  2. Kristin Hayes, RN, Types of Speech Therapy, Very Well Health, https://www.verywellhealth.com/types-of-speech-therapy-1192153
  3. Home Health Services, Medicare, https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/home-health-services
  4. Speech-Language Pathology Services, Medicare, https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/speech-language-pathology-services
  5. Home Care Services: Questions to Ask, Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/home-care-services/art-20044609

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