Making Speech Therapy Meaningful

Research & Resources
speech therapist working on fuctional therapy activities with patients

The goal of inpatient rehabilitation is to return patients to their communities and what matters most to them. That means therapy has to be meaningful to each individual’s lifestyle and activities.

In addition to helping people build back their strength and perform self-care tasks, inpatient rehabilitation also helps people build back their mental and cognitive abilities prior to their illness or injury. This is where speech language pathologists play a unique role in this setting of care.

Working in tandem with physical and occupational therapists, as well as the medical team, speech therapists can help patients with anything from financial and medication management to keeping up with appointments and preparing meals. This is best accomplished in a setting that mimics the real world and offers functional therapy.

Simulating Real-Life Experiences

Encompass Health hospitals are specially designed and equipped for this therapeutic process. In addition to spaces you would expect in a rehabilitation hospital, such as speech therapy offices and a therapy gym, Encompass Health hospitals also include areas that simulate daily living.

Each hospital has an Activities of Daily Living (ADL) suite that includes a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. Encompass Health hospitals also have kits that can help patients practice medication and financial management, so they can gain real experience in a supervised setting.

Therapists are encouraged to use these areas and items to challenge patients and prepare them for a successful return home.

What Speech Therapy Could Look Like

A speech therapy session in a rehabilitation hospital could take many different forms and scenarios, depending on what is relevant to the person and their goals.

For someone who traveled frequently prior to their hospitalization, speech therapy could include planning a trip. They might search the internet for flights, hotels, concert tickets and rental cars to create a travel itinerary.

If the person enjoyed cooking before their illness or injury, a session could include reading a recipe book and planning a shopping trip to purchase the ingredients. This could even include a trip to the grocery store with the patient and therapist purchasing the grocery list items and returning to the hospital’s ADL suite to prepare the recipe.

These functional tasks can help target deficits of problem-solving, reasoning, executive functioning, language, attention, safety awareness, sequencing and more.

They can be provided in an individual or group setting, which allows patients the chance to build camaraderie with one another. They can also offer ideas, support and insights to each other.

Preparing Patients for Home

Prior to the functional therapy activities, patients are asked to rate how they think they will perform the task; following completion of the task, patients then rate themselves on how well they did and identify problems that they did not anticipate.

This allows the speech therapist and the patient to discuss what support and strategies they may need to be successful when they return to their community.

These real-life activities can go a long way in helping patients achieve their ultimate goal of returning to their community and lives.

The content of this site is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical conditions or treatments.