Published on July 27, 2018

New Programs Help Parkinson’s Patients Regain & Maintain Speaking Abilities

(July 27, 2018 – Sandusky, Ohio) The Speech-Language Pathology department at Firelands Regional Medical Center has been awarded a grant through the Parkinson Voice Project. This project will bring SPEAK OUT!® and LOUD Crowd® programs to Erie County. Firelands is one of just four facilities in Ohio to receive the grant funding that supplies training, materials, marketing, and on-going education to support ongoing implementation of the programs.

Beginning August 1, SPEAK OUT!® programming will be provided as part of adult speech-therapy treatment sessions. The primary goals of SPEAK OUT!® are to strengthen the muscles used for speaking and swallowing and to teach patients how to speak with intent. Once patients complete SPEAK OUT!®, they transition to the second part of the program called The LOUD Crowd®. This programming provides ongoing vocal practice, accountability, support, and encouragement after a patient completes therapy.

“We are thrilled to bring these new programs to Firelands and our local Parkinson community,” said Director of Speech-Language Pathology and Pediatric Outpatient Clinics, Lisa Horchler. “Up to 90 percent of people with Parkinson’s are likely to develop speech disorders, and these new programs will help us implement treatment designed specifically for Parkinson’s patients to maintain their ability to speak out and communicate.”

In addition to speech disorders, aspiration pneumonia, caused by swallowing difficulty, accounts for 70 percent of the mortality rate for Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson Voice Project is the only nonprofit organization in the world solely dedicated to addressing these serious issues.

Could Parkinson’s be affecting your speech and swallowing?

  • Do people ask you to repeat?
  • Does your voice sound hoarse, scratchy, or breathy?
  • Does your family say you speak too softly?
  • Do you clear your throat often?
  • Is your voice strong on some days, and weak on others?
  • Do you cough when you eat or drink?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might benefit from SPEAK OUT!® at Firelands Regional Medical Center. For more information, please call 419-557-7040.

Reviewed by Lisa Horchler, Director of Speech-Language Pathology and Pediatric Outpatient Clinics on July 20, 2018

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