First-Ever National Speech and Hearing Day Highlights Services

Speech Language Pathologists at Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB), the Department of Health and the Bermuda Speech Language and Audiology Association (BerSLA) will mark the Island’s first-ever National Speech and Hearing Day on 3 March 2011.

Language Pathologists and Audiologists will be available at the Washington Mall from 12:30pm to 3:00pm on Thursday and members of the public are encouraged to stop by and learn about services offered in our community by speech therapists. A display will also be located in the lobby at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH) this week.

“Speech Language Pathologists evaluate and treat patients with speech, language, voice, cognition and swallowing difficulties,” said Sandra Cook-Anderson, Clinical Supervisor of Speech at the hospital. “We treat patients following stroke or recovering from head injuries and certain cancers. We also work with patients whose cognitive abilities have declined or who have swallowing problems and others who have learning disabilities. We treated approximately 400 patients last year and about 170 of these patients were stroke victims.”

Dr. Elwood Fox, Chief of Physiatry at KEMH, said, “We are pleased to announce the recent expansion of our services to include care at Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute, where we assess communication and swallowing skills and treat service users experiencing difficulties managing food and liquids. We also provide alternative and augmentative communication systems, which include gestures and electronic communication devices that support individuals with severe speech and language difficulties.”

Teresa Law, Clinical Supervisor for Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute said: “There is evidence demonstrating a strong relationship between communication and swallowing disorders and mental health. Speech Therapists provide intervention targeting the use and understanding of language, social and conversational skills, literacy, cognitive-communication and improving eating and drinking skills. We are key in the diagnosis and treatment of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder and provide support and advice for people with dementia.”

BHB staff members also work with Speech Language Pathologists from the Department of Health and in private practice to provide services to people of all ages in our community.

“We work together to educate and counsel patients, clients and family members about treatment options,” added Ms. Cook- Anderson. “One of our goals is training more Bermudian students in the field. We want to ensure patients have continuity of care provided by therapists with a vested interest in our community.”

Sita Ingram, BHB Clinical Director of Allied Health Services, commented, “BHB is committed to encouraging Bermudians to choose careers in healthcare. In recent years, we have supported six Speech Language Pathology students studying aboard through our Summer Internship Programme. We look forward to these students returning to our community as healthcare providers.”

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