Local speech therapist talks about challenges during pandemic

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, at least 20-percent of adults will experience significant difficulty in hearing, speech, or language at some point in their life. The month of May is used to help bring awareness to speech therapy, including how speech language pathologists practice.

“It gives us the opportunity to just get our information out about our profession and how we help people basically with life’s essentials, feeding, swallowing, and communication,” Cami Morris, a Speech Pathologist at Raleigh General Hospital, said.

Morris has been a speech pathologist for 10 years. She said the pandemic brought in an increase of patients. Due to the lung damage COVID-19 can cause, many people need a speech pathologist in their recovery.

“When these patients require air tubes or ventilators to help them breathe, sometimes there can be like traumatic events to their vocal cords which can cause difficulty with speaking with using your voice as well as swallowing,” Morris said.

Morris said one of the biggest challenges during the pandemic is not being able to interact with a patient’s family members to educate them on at-home care.

“We end up needing to call them later and do education,” Morris said. “We can set up Zoom conferences or telephone calls with the families just so they still feel like they’re involved in the patients care and can participate and know what’s going on.”

But even through a year full of challenges, Morris said it is all worth it for the reward of helping others.

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