Wednesday, February 27, 2013

NSSLHA Meeting Notes February 2013

 Thanks to everyone who made it to our February NSSLHA meeting!

Vanessa Espinoza, MA CCC-SLP

Our speaker was Vanessa Espinoza, a 2008 CSULA graduate of the master’s program, who currently works at Rancho Los Amigos, a nationally recognized and highly ranked rehabilitation hospital in Downey, CA.

·        Vanessa originally wanted to be a teacher, but her job as a bilingual aide in a SELPA office (Special Education Local Plan Area) opened her eyes to the more tangible impact she could make on children and families as an SLP
·       Had an amazing mentor at her 11-week hospital internship at Rancho Los Amigos
o   Was in the Peds unit in the hospital, which primarily consisted of teenagers age 13-21

·       After completing her CFY in a school, she went to work at Rancho
·       She also currently works per diem Downey Regional, an acute hospital
o   An acute hospital takes the patients immediately after their accident or crisis
o   Once patients are stabilized and are appropriate candidates for rehab, they get sent to a rehab hospital
o   Has treated stroke patients for the past 3 years
·       Rancho has 19 speech therapists (in- and out-patient staff) compared to 2 speech therapists at Downey Regional
o   There are different units that SLPs specialize in, including brain injury patients, peds patients, and spinal cord injury patients
o   You may also work with the potentially life-threatening dysphagia and tracheostomy tube, mainly at Downey Regional
o   Wonderful to be able to collaborate with many specialists under the same roof
·       Advice for undergrads
o   Get your foot in the door by volunteering at hospitals or outside clinics

·        The most important thing she learned at school and the hospital: the best therapists are the ones that can develop the rapport with your clients, not necessarily the A+ students

·       Perks of working at a hospital:
o   B/C of HIPAA, you can’t take work home.
o   The bulk of the workday is spent treating patients, so 6 full hours
o   1 hour a day is dedicated solely to evaluation for new admissions
o   Average caseload varies with the census; can be anywhere from 1 patient to 10 patients (when things get really hectic)
§  When you have 10, you have to get creative, such as grouping two patients with similar deficits in one session

·       Some short-term goals for patients, from an interdisciplinary team perspective:
o   PT and OT – how patient can move around home safely; what kind of equipment they need for daily living activities, like showering, changing, meal prep, etc.
o   Speech therapy – maximizing their communication given the problem
§  Look at what level they’re at and what do they need. If they have a hard time communicating, what improves their communication

Developing functional expression and training family on what is the best for patient to communicate, such as through yes/no questions or writing or pointing, etc.

We really appreciate Vanessa for taking the time to speak to us. See you next time!

NSSLHA at work

Q&A following the meeting

NSSLHA 2013 with Vanessa Espinoza

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