At Northwestern University, telemedicine for speech therapy is helping dementia patients improve deteriorating language skills. As neurodegenerative illnesses progress, patients often struggle with recalling names and words, such as a grandchild’s name or the appropriate words for ordering lunch. After completing an eight-week course of therapy sessions and home assignments, study participants demonstrated a significant improvement in recalling troublesome words; after six months, the improvement remained.
In most cases, the language impairment remains untreated because speech-language pathologists lack the training to help patients with dementia. Northwestern’s pilot program connects patients with qualified providers through a telemedicine platform. Over a course of two months, weekly telemedicine therapy sessions allowed the patients to practice the words and phrases that they needed to use frequently. Videos and homework reinforced the skills covered during therapy.
The researchers also found that the telemedicine program resulted in fewer missed appointments as compared to clinic visits.
To read more about the study, click here.
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