Logopedics
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Treatment of voice, speech and swallowing disorders

The range of tasks of the logopedics team includes the clarification and treatment of acquired central voice and speech disorders as well as neurological and oncological swallowing disorders. Our aim is the improvement of quality of life through the patient's enhanced participation in their everyday life. Possible therapy contents include optimisation of linguistic and communicative skills, the elaboration of non-verbal expression methods and/or improvement of swallowing functions.

This range of tasks also includes advising and accompanying relatives for the purpose of ensuring the best possible communication between the patient and their caregivers in everyday life. After the inpatient rehabilitation stay, our speech therapists will organise further treatment at the patient's home address.

Patient-related issues and speech therapy specialist topics are discussed with freely practicing specialist colleagues and speech therapists from other institutes.

Our speech and language department also offers internships for students from various educational institutions in Switzerland and abroad.

 

The main focal points of speech therapy

Aphasias (speech disorders)

Aphasias are acquired speech disorders which can occur as a result of brain damage e.g. after a stroke, a brain damage trauma, a brain tumour, degenerative diseases or inflammation of the brain. With aphasias, it is always the language system as a whole that is affected. Depending on the extent and the severity of the disease, patients may have problems understanding spoken and / or written language and difficulties reading and writing.

Treatment:
The therapy is individually tailored to individual patients and the image of their specific condition. On the one hand, the disturbed speech functions are treated; on the other hand, compensation strategies are provided, to enable / facilitate the patient's communication in their everyday life. The therapy is predominantly conducted on an individual basis, based on a clarification of all speech functions. 

Everyday-oriented therapy (EOT):
Everyday-oriented therapy (EOT) includes preparation for taking a step back into everyday life. This kind of therapy allows the aphasic to test and consolidate communication strategies worked out in speech therapy under the guidance of the therapist, in a real-life situation.

 

Dysarthria (speech disorder)

Patients with a case of dysarthria are no longer able to reguate and perform speech movements properly as a result of central or peripheral damage to their nervous system. With such a speech disorder, respiration, phonation, melody and rhythm (prosody), resonance and sound production (articulation) can be affected. With this, oral communication in patients with dysarthria is limited by changes in volume and speech rhythm, as well as a change to their voice and indistinct articulation.

Treatment:
Following thorough diagnostics, the goal of speech therapy is improvement of disrupted functions or optimising the co-ordination of these functions, to attain speech that is as inconspicuous and easy to understand as possible. If a patient's spoken language ability is very severely restricted or even fully gone, the use of alternative communication tools must be considered. It may be a simple letters board or an electronic devce with display and synthetic speech output.

 

Dysphonias

The main traits of dysphonias are a change in tone of voice and a reduced vocal performance. Dysphonias can have physical causes or they can be caused by improper use of one's voice. Mental stress can also affect voice function.

Treatment:
An inspection of the voice function by an ENT specialist (and, if appropriate, by a voice specialist, or phoniatrist) is necessary for determining the cause of the dysphonia and determining the appropriate measures. Not all dysphonias require a speech therapy approach. During speech therapy we use different body tension, posture, breathing, phonation and phonation methods to normalise a patient's vocal tone and increase the capacity of their voice.

 

Dysphagias (swallowing difficulties)

A dysphagia is a swallowing disorder that is noted during drinking or eating solid food or when swallowing one's own saliva.

Treatment:
First, the processes involved in swallowing are investigated by speech therapists. If necessary there will be performed and additional endoscopic swallowing study, by an experienced specialist. The aim of the treatment is to enable the patient to reclaim in part - or, ideally, wholly - their normal feeding practice, thereby regaining an element of life quality and independence. Some patients require specific forms of food or individually adapted aid means or they need to use a special swallowing technique worked out with them during therapy. 

Tracheostomy management

With strongly pronounced swallowing difficulties or breathing problems it is sometimes necessary to give a patient a tracheostomy. It involves a "little tube", which is inserted into the trachea (a tracheotomy). This eases breathing and provides a certain amount of protection against swallowing i.e. food, fluids and / or saliva penetrating into the lower airways. The aim of speech therapy is improvement of swallowing and breathing functions. This includes improvement of quality of life as part of therapy. In most cases a tracheostomy can be removed again during rehabilitation treatment.