Peninsula Home Care Linking Dementia with Speech PathologyPublished on - July 15, 2019
SALISBURY, MD – Imagine suffering a stroke and not being able to express feelings or communicate at a functional level. Think of the challenges that come with being fed through a tube and not being able to eat a full meal. These are two examples of scenarios where a speech therapist would be ordered by a physician to help a patient with speech, eating, drinking and swallowing.
“Stroke, accidents and major surgeries are closely associated with the types of patients I see but I also have a lot of dementia patients on my case load,” said Karen Musengwa, Peninsula Home Care Speech Language Pathologist and Certified Dementia Practitioner. “Dementia causes communication difficulties and mealtime challenges not only for the patient but the caregiver as well.”
Karen Musengwa has worked for Peninsula Home Care as a speech therapist for a year and a half. She brings with her 17 years of work experience as a Speech Language Pathologist. She graduated from Ithaca College with a Bachelor of Science in Teacher of the Speech and Hearing Handicapped and Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology. She is a licensed Maryland State Speech-Language Pathologist and a Certified Dementia Practitioner.
“Just like the patient recovering from a severe car accident, unable to communicate, cognition is a big part of speech therapy,” said Musengwa. “I work with individuals with dementia and their caregivers to understand where they are in the disease process, tap into what they can do and provide support for caregivers to maximize effective communication and quality of life. We know improved communication has an impact on social skills, peer relationships and behavior and can greatly minimize stress and anxiety for both the patient and caregiver.”
“We value Karen’s ability to empower a patient and their family through education and communication,” said Barbara Murray, Maryland branch director. “Her skills play an important role in assessing a patient’s capacity to consent to treatment or care. Her expertise allows her to advise on effective means of presenting information to a person with dementia in a way that maximizes their freedom of choice.”
In addition to being a Speech Pathologist, Karen also is a Certified Holistic Health Coach. Karen is the owner and founder of Your Beautiful Self Health and Wellness. In her health coaching business Karen’s mission is to help individuals prevent and reverse chronic disease through lifestyle changes.
“Exercise grows the brain. Stress shrinks it. We know you can impact your brain through diet and other lifestyle changes to heal the body. Simply staying away from processed foods and cutting out sugar and refined carbs are some simple steps to get started.”
For more information about speech therapy and dementia services, call 410-543-7550.
About Peninsula Home Care
Providing skilled nursing, physical, occupational and speech therapy for more than 30 years, Peninsula Home Care ensures that all patients are involved in their plan of care and strives to give them every opportunity to maintain their independence in the home. The agency has served more than 50,000 patients in Wicomico, Worcester and Somerset counties in Maryland and Sussex and Kent counties in Delaware. In 2017, PHC and PHCN were designated as Preferred Home Care Provider by Peninsula Regional Medical Center and Nanticoke Health Services.