July 28, 2020
(Rockville, MD) With cognitive impairment, swallowing problems, and speech and language difficulties among the conditions that patients with COVID-19 reportedly face as they recover from the virus, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) emphasizes the need for and value of treatment services [video] provided by speech-language pathologists (SLPs) at a critical point in the pandemic as cases spike nationwide.
Many of the problems that patients are experiencing are the result of extended time spent on ventilators. Post–intensive care syndrome (PICS) and intensive care unit (ICU) delirium—both characterized by symptoms that include cognitive impairment—are not exclusive to COVID-19 patients. However, the lack of stimulation and interaction with loved ones that patients would normally have at hospital bedsides is exacerbating patients’ recovery conditions.
Although data are limited, reports in media outlets such as The New York Times highlight issues that hospital staff are seeing as patients recover—issues for which SLPs can provide essential treatment. These issues include the following:
For more information about the services that SLPs can provide to individuals with COVID-19, visit www.asha.org/public.
About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 211,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems, including swallowing disorders.