Speech/language and swallowing therapy

If a health condition affects your ability to speak, swallow, or think clearly, rest assured that the experts at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula can help. You’ll find tools, treatments, and support to rebuild skills, improve self-confidence, and feel more empowered.

Benefits of speech-language rehabilitation

With one-on-one care from a skilled speech-language pathologist, teens and adults may be able to:

  • Speak more fluently, clearly, and easily
  • Do better on daily tasks that require planning, communicating, and remembering
  • Eat and drink safely, so you get enough nutrients, maintain a healthy weight, and feel more energetic
  • Enjoy more independence

Do I need speech or swallowing therapy?

Your healthcare provider may recommend rehabilitation if you have trouble swallowing (dysphagia) or communicating due to:

  • Brain injury, such as stroke
  • Cancer of the head or neck
  • Hearing loss
  • Medical treatment or surgery that affects the vocal cords
  • Neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or multiple sclerosis (MS)

Evaluation

During your first appointment, a speech pathologist will work with you — and a family member or caregiver, if needed — to learn about your symptoms, abilities, and health history. Depending on your concerns, the therapist may:

  • Do simple tests to gauge your communication and thinking skills
  • Use imaging exams to look at your airways and esophagus (food pipe)
  • Watch your mouth, lips, and tongue as you speak

Swallowing tests

If you experience dysphagia, your therapist likely will order certain tests to learn more about what happens inside your body when you swallow. You may receive:

  • Chest X-ray or computed tomography (CT) scan (you may have to arrange separately with your doctor)
  • Fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES), which passes a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera through the nose and into the throat
  • Modified barium swallow study, in which you eat food lightly coated with barium, a contrast dye that shows up on an X-ray machine to reveal your mouth and throat muscles moving in real time

Treatments and therapies

Your speech pathologist will help you set goals for rehabilitation. Work toward them by taking part in:

  • Cognitive (thinking) exercises and fun activities to improve memory
  • Speech treatment
    • Oral motor therapy – Uses exercises to strengthen muscles in and around the mouth to help you control your speech
    • Vocal therapy – Teaches you how to make certain sounds and articulate different parts of speech after an injury or illness
  • Swallowing treatment
    • Nutrition services – A referral may be made to help recommend dietary changes based on your health and preferences
    • Swallowing training – Guides you in coordinating throat muscles and positioning your head to swallow more easily
    • VitalStim® therapy – Places mild electrodes on the skin over the throat to give safe, gentle electrical signals that help retrain swallowing muscles

During therapy, you and a loved one will also learn more about your condition and ways to care for yourself at home, so you enjoy a better quality of life.

Settings for therapy

You may receive speech or swallowing therapy on an:

If your care starts with inpatient rehabilitation, follow up with outpatient therapy after you leave the hospital to build on your progress and reach the best results long-term.

Talk to your doctor

Ask your doctor for a referral for rehabilitation services — physical, occupational, and speech therapy — at Montage Health. 

Schedule an appointment

After your doctor refers you to Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula for outpatient rehabilitation, call (831) 883-5640 and choose option 1 to schedule an appointment.

Then, take one of these steps:

  • Print the patient intake form in English [PDF] or Spanish [PDF], fill it out, and bring it to your first visit
  • Arrive 30 minutes before your first appointment to complete the forms at your therapy location

Video visits

After your first rehabilitation appointment, ask if you can see your physical, occupational, or speech therapist through video visits from the comfort and convenience of home.

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