The Power of One: Clinical Practice in Neurogenics: Advocating for Your Scope of Practice Nursing home residents with hearing loss and language disorders are not being referred to audiologists and speech language pathologists according to the results of a recent research study by Dr. Tammy Hopper (2000) . Hopper evaluated the hearing and linguistic communication skills of 57 nursing home residents with a diagnosis of ... Article
Article  |   October 2000
The Power of One: Clinical Practice in Neurogenics: Advocating for Your Scope of Practice
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  • © 2000 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
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The Power of One: Clinical Practice in Neurogenics
Article   |   October 2000
The Power of One: Clinical Practice in Neurogenics: Advocating for Your Scope of Practice
SIG 2 Perspectives on Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders, October 2000, Vol. 10, 27. doi:10.1044/nnsld10.3.27
SIG 2 Perspectives on Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders, October 2000, Vol. 10, 27. doi:10.1044/nnsld10.3.27
Nursing home residents with hearing loss and language disorders are not being referred to audiologists and speech language pathologists according to the results of a recent research study by Dr. Tammy Hopper (2000) . Hopper evaluated the hearing and linguistic communication skills of 57 nursing home residents with a diagnosis of dementia. Then, she examined the ratings given to these residents by the nurses who completed the MDS (Minimum Data Set) form. Approximately half of the residents with dementia were rated as normal in linguistic communication but nonetheless exhibited linguistic communication and verbal memory problems when tested using standardized measures. In addition, the half that were rated as abnormal were not referred to speech-language pathologists. All of the residents failed the hearing screening, yet 72% of them were rated as having normal hearing on the MDS. None was referred to audiology or speech-language pathology. These results suggest that many nursing home professionals do not recognize speech-language and hearing problems and indict the MDS as a tool for identifying their presence. Whereas many had hoped that the MDS scores would “trigger” the use of the resident assessment protocols, resulting in a careful description of communication deficits and referrals to audiologists and speech-language pathologists, that does not seem to be the case. It would seem that many nurses are uninformed of how speech-language pathologists and audiologists can help dementia patients with hearing and language disorders. Speech-language pathologists and audiologists must get involved in the evaluation of long-term care residents with dementia. They should screen individuals at the time of admission and periodically thereafter. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA, 1987) was written to ensure that the deficits of all nursing home residents were recognized and appropriate care plans were developed. Without our involvement, dementia patients are suffering.
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