How Mental Health Professionals and SLPs Collaborate to Support Patients with Aphasia

Imagine walking into a patient’s room – but before you can introduce yourself, they burst into tears.  Your patient has aphasia and can’t communicate what’s running through their head – at least not in the way they used to be able to.

You try your best to ask questions and offer support, but it only leads to more frustration…

What do you do? 

Mental health matters just as much as communication does, which is exactly why I brought on a Rehab Psychologist and Med SLP to share how they collaborate to better serve patients with aphasia.

In this episode, Gina Danner Ph.D., and Jessica Sharon MS, CCC-SLP discuss the overlap between their professions and the importance of collaboration in maximizing outcomes for people with aphasia. They emphasize the importance of addressing anxiety and depression in patients with aphasia and the need for collaboration in providing support for both patients and their caregivers.

Gina Danner, a clinical psychologist, shares her experience working in an inpatient rehabilitation facility during the pandemic and highlights the limitations of teletherapy for some patients. The speakers also discuss the unique role of psychologists in providing support for other therapists and helping patients cope with their fears and anxieties.

Overall, the episode highlights the importance of communication and collaboration between care providers in providing the best care for patients. The speakers also emphasized the need for caregivers to prioritize their own self-care and the impact of visitation policies on patients and their loved ones.

Here's a glance at the episode:

  • [03:04] –  Gina Danner and Jessica Sharon discuss the lack of confidence and formal training in working with patients with aphasia and the need for more education and collaboration between mental health professionals and speech-language pathologists.
  • [05:00] – Gina Danner explains her role as the only inpatient rehab psychologist at JFK Johnson Rehab Institute, and how she supports patients and collaborates with speech-language pathologists.
  • [08:40] – The speakers discuss the importance of addressing emotional needs in patients with aphasia and the lack of confidence and formal training in working with these issues.
  • [11:16] – The speakers talk about the importance of collaboration and referral between speech-language pathologists and mental health professionals, using an example of a patient who expressed self-harm.
  • [14:49] – The speakers discuss the devastating impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations, particularly those with aphasia, and the need for educational materials in an aphasia-friendly format.
  • [6:39] – The difficulties of working with isolated patients during the pandemic and the impact it had on medical professionals' mental health.
  • [10:00] – Discussion on the lack of confidence and formal training in working with patients with aphasia and the need for more education.
  • [18:00] – Discussion on the unique role of a psychologist in an inpatient rehabilitation facility and the importance of communication and collaboration between care providers.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Download the show notes

Check out the MedSLP Summit recordings here

Episode 253 – Combating Burnout and Elevating Patient Experience with One Tool: Compassion

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