Excellence in Action: Creating positive connections through active communication.

Communication is essential for establishing a connection with the world around you.  When a person loses the ability to communicate, it can be very frustrating and isolating, and can ultimately impact the care that the person receives.

A 45-year-old male was admitted to our facility in Tuskegee, Alabama.  Prior to admission, he had been living with a full-time caregiver in his home. He is quadriplegic and has a tracheostomy, following a significant brainstem stroke 4 years ago.  Due to recent medical complications, he was admitted to a Long-Term Acute Care (LTAC) facility, before transferring to our facility, to be closer to his family.

Cognitively, the patient is alert and oriented to the world around him, but because of the effects of his brainstem stroke, he is unable to verbally communicate.  He makes all of his needs/wants known using a Tobii-DynaVox Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Device.  With this device, the patient can communicate with staff and family through preset words and phrases which are programmed into the device.  He can also use the device to send and receive text messages, make video calls, and even browse the web.   The AAC device is truly this patient’s lifeline for communication and connection with the world around him. Physically, he requires total care assistance from staff, so proper utilization of this communication device is essential for even the most basic care needs.

Our SLP, Jennifer, has been working very closely with the patient to help him transition into his new “home facility” and life in the SNF.   She has provided training with the facility staff and CNAs on how to communicate with and provide care for a person who utilizes a communication device.  Jennifer has also worked with the facility maintenance staff to make sure that the resident’s television could be controlled by his communication device.  She has even gone so far as to consult with the patient’s previous SLP, to ensure that his communication device is working properly, and learn more about the device for any changes that might need to be made, including adding phrases that might be more relevant to life in the SNF setting.

 Jennifer has truly gone above and beyond to ensure that the patient’s transition to living in our facility, is much easier!  The patient and his family have been very appreciative of all the work that Jennifer has done to help the patient’s transition be as seamless as possible. 

In Tuskegee, Alabama, we are ALL IN for creating positive customer experiences, and for ensuring that ALL patients can connect with the world around them!