Stepping Outside Your SLP Comfort Zone: Home Health

Please give a warm welcome to Lisette from Speech Sprouts, who is presenting the latest installment in the "Stepping Outside Your SLP Comfort Zone" series!

Hi there, my name is Lisette, and you can usually find me at Speech Sprouts. I’m stopping by Natalie Snyders' amazing blog to share a bit about my experience wandering WAY out of my comfort zone. Thank you Natalie for the invite to visit!

Fresh Out of Grad School

After graduating from grad school and getting my CCC’s, I headed straight for a school-based therapy position. My children were young, and it seemed the perfect fit. I loved my school, and enjoyed the learning about each child's needs. In public school we see such a wide variety of children, I am always headed back to the books to learn more about a specific disorder and how speech, language and development are affected.

Outside your SLP Comfort Zone? a guest post by Speech Sprouts

Ready for a New Challenge?

I wasn’t at all bored, but I truly love learning new things. After about three years, I was contacted by a home health agency looking for some part-time speech therapy help. The company saw only adults at that time. I had done a hospital-based externship, but had not worked in healthcare full-time. Did I have the skills? Unsure, but intrigued by the opportunity to broaden my skill set, I went to interview and was hired.

I was nervous, and agreed to see only patients with aphasia and dysarthria at first. I dove back into my books and did my research. I found a mentor- a fellow SLP who had recently left a healthcare setting. Breathe, I thought, you’ve got this! It’s language and articulation. Just all grown up.

Off I went to my first home visit after school. A sweet elderly lady who had a stroke, resulting in word-finding issues. We worked on naming, categories, and conversational repair strategies. I loved it! Eventually I branched out to treat apraxia, voice, swallowing, and cognitive linguistic deficits. My patients were generally grateful for the help, the company and attention. I saw littles by day, and elders at night!

Take a Left at the Big Tree?

There were a few surprises. Trying to find my way in rural Texas- I followed the directions to one lady’s home that said “drive through the gate at the end of the road.” Well, the gate opened into a cow pasture. There was no road at all, not even a path. I ventured through, turned as instructed, and spotted the white mobile home way in the distance. I dodged a couple grazing cows, a few prickly pear cactuses and arrived to find a widowed lady who lived all alone out there, with only a neighbor to take her shopping once a week.

 It was raining hard the next time I visited, and I was pretty sure the cows and I would sink deep into the mud, but somehow I made it. I often stayed a bit after each session, helping her get her laundry and dishes done, making sure she could fix a meal. It was pretty hard for her after her stroke.

Outside my SLP Comfort Zone- Watch out for Cows! Guest post by Speech Sprouts
You're here to see who?

Have You Got it Covered?

I have found patients and families eager to have me work with them, and others who had really no interest. One gentlemen’s wife told me I could find him in his bedroom, go on in, and she left to go shopping. Perhaps she thought I was a sitter? Her husband was unable to walk unassisted after his stroke, and had hemiplegia. Well, he was awake, but not exactly ready for a session. He was completely naked and covered only by a sheet. You could say that was outside my comfort zone for sure! We didn’t do much therapy that day.

Five years ago, I switched from home health to doing after-school therapy services at our small local hospital. A new learning curve with inpatients, but I was pretty confident in my outpatient therapy at this point. I still love learning new things and expanding my skills to meet the needs of each patient.

So are you considering a new challenge? Go for it. Do your homework, find a mentor, get some additional professional training, you can do it! Just watch out for cows. 

- Lisette

1 comment

  1. Thanks for the invite to guest-post Natalie! It was a lot of fun. "Stepping outside your Out of Your Comfort Zone" has been a great series to read.I have been so inspired by many of the posts to try something new! Lisette of Speech Sprouts


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