A speech therapist, also known as a ST, is a member of the health care team that provides Speech Therapy services to patients. They perform their duties according to the standards of clinical practice and work under the supervision of a physician and nursing supervisor.
A speech therapist (sometimes called speech pathologist) in home health is responsible for the evaluation of patient’s care needs and determining a treatment plan that will improve the patient’s communication, swallowing, or cognitive skills. This person also evaluates the client’s home environment. A speech pathologist also documents the progress of each client. A typical job description of an ST in home health is as follows:
The job description of an ST in home health includes evaluating the patient’s level of function using evaluations and basic audiological assessments especially if the patient has dysphagia or risk for aspiration with difficulty swallowing. They also work with the health care team to develop a treatment plan. During each visit, the speech therapist completes progress notes and submits them per the home health agency’s policy. As a member of the home health team, the speech therapist administers therapy and guides the patient in the use of communicative devices. They also participate in case conferences and prepare clinical notes and reports any changes to the physician or supervising nurse.
A speech therapist in home health can provide in-home services to people with physical, mental, or cognitive disabilities. A home health speech therapist may assist nonverbal stroke patients in learning to use text-to-speech technology. They may also test the patient’s ability to swallow and trial different liquids. Occasionally, they will instruct the patient’s family how to prepare pureed foods safely and effectively.
To work in home health, a speech therapist must have a master’s degree in speech-language pathology or another related field. Some states also require that a speech-language pathologist be certified and licensed. Other essential skills include excellent interpersonal and non-verbal communication, patient, and analytical thinking. Home health speech therapists must also know the proper tools for rehabilitation. They must be well-informed about different types of rehabilitation equipment and their use.
In a home health setting, the speech-language therapist will visit the patient in their own home to treat speech, swallowing, or cognitive disorders. They will work closely with other care providers in the home to tailor therapy sessions based on the patient’s specific needs. The home environment will help the speech therapist work with the patient to get the best results possible. This includes the patient’s family and caregivers.
Home-based speech-language pathologists are highly trained and experienced in providing therapy services in a wide variety of settings. They also maintain accurate records and are required to comply with the highest standards of clinical care.