Ventilator & Tracheotomy Unit
Tracheostomies and Ventilators: Benefits of Speech-Language Pathology Services
What do speech-language pathologists do when working with people with tracheostomies or ventilators?
A team of professionals is involved in making decisions about the care of people with tracheostomies and ventilators. In addition to the person with the tracheostomy and his or her family or caregivers, the team may consist of the following:
- respiratory therapists
- speech-language pathologists (SLPs)
The SLP will evaluate the person’s thinking and language skills, oral-motor and swallowing functioning, and ability to produce voice in different situations. Whatever communication method is recommended for the person, the SLP plays a central role in making sure that the person and his or her caregivers know how to maximize communication.
Tracheostomy and ventilator use is life sustaining. Speech for patients with tracheostomies or ventilators is life enriching.
ASHA has developed guidelines for the Use of Voice Prostheses in Tracheotomized Persons With or Without Ventilatory Dependence that outline more specifics about the role of the SLP with this population. In addition, the Preferred Practice Patterns for the Profession of Speech-Language Pathology outline the common practices followed by SLPs when engaging in various aspects of the profession. The Preferred Practice Patterns for prosthetic/adaptive device assessment and intervention are outlined in Sections 28 and 29.