Have you ever heard a direct perspective of what it’s like to be in an ICU bed, speechless, and then getting a Passy Muir valve?
In this episode in the Speechless SLP series, Vanessa Abraham talks specifically about how this affected her mental health. Based on her experiences, she talks about how SLPs can help patients, and their families, tend to the invisible emotional and psychological scars that nobody can see
Discussion & Reflection Question
- How can you remind your patients/clients of their progress to give them a boost during low times? Can you keep a diary for them to see at a later date? Are they able to start one?
- If you have concerns about a client or patient’s mental health, who else in the care team can you flag it with?
- If you’re working with a patient or client experiencing frustration with using communication aids to ask questions, how can you help to ease their stress?
- What are the different ways you can educate patients and their families about treatments and processes? Can you use a combination of visual and verbal methods to suit different learning styles?
- Where do you think you draw your own coping and resilience skills from for the tough stuff in life?
Vanessa is a wife, mother and school based Speech-Language Pathologist.
She learned firsthand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of speech services after experiencing a sudden-onset critical illness that left her with limb and neck paralysis as well as a PEG tube and tracheotomy.
She was thrown into the rehabilitation world after being an independent, healthy and vibrant young mother. Through many swallow studies, voice therapy, OT and PT, she had to learn to eat, talk and move again.
Her goal now is to help people critically ill patients cope with the grief they experience after a critical illness through speaking up about the topic of Post Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS), depression and anxiety post ICU in addition to educating families and patients about the various rehab modalities that have been successful for her.
Contact Vanessa Abraham
“Know that depression and anxiety is real, and that it’s not something to be taken lightly. I don’t think that area is discussed enough. Prepare the family members of what the transition is going to look like, and this is what they might experience.”
– Vanessa Abraham
“It’s working collaboratively, having a positive approach, and understanding that people do come from different backgrounds, and bring different challenges, whether we see them or not. The mental wellness scars are the scars we cannot see, and I don’t know of anybody who’s been through a fairytale life without bumps and bruises and scars.”
– Mattie Murrey-Tegels
Mattie Murrey Tegel, MA, CCC-SLP, L, CPC, CLSC
Medical Speech-Language Pathologist and Founder of Fresh SLP.
Mattie Murrey-Tegels is the founder and SLP behind Fresh SLP and The Missing Link for SLPs Podcast. She’s been “in-the-trenches” as a medical SLP around the world for over 25 years and now an Assistant Professor for 3 years. She is thrilled to be adding this dream of a podcast because paying her experiences forward is something she is very passionate about. If you ask her patients and students, one thing they will remember is how much she loves her job! She may not look like it but she is a huge introvert and when she is not actively working as an SLP, she is almost always reading, writing (writing over 1,000,000 words a year), or listening to amazing Chicago Blues bands. She also loves being outdoors and definitely enjoys soaking up the sun at her home in Minnesota, where warm and sunny days can be limited. She’s ridden motorcycles for many years, raced sled dogs, hiked huge mountains yet she cherishes the quiet moments of climbing into a hammock to nap or timeless conversations with friends and family.
The Missing Link for SLPs podcast and Fresh SLP is her legacy, giving back to a career that has so richly rewarded her.
Thank you for listening to The Missing Link for SLPs podcast! If you enjoyed the show, I’d love you to subscribe, rate it and leave a short review. Also, please share an episode with a friend. Together we can raise awareness and help more SLPs find and connect those missing links to help them feel confident in their patient care every step of the way.
Not a substitute for a formal SLP education or medical advice for patients/caregivers.