A Day in the Life of a DOS Speech Therapist

Daughters of Sarah Community for Seniors’ (DOS) sole Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) is Brenda Nixon. On an average day, her schedule is usually jam-packed with assessing multiple residents needs according to nursing and dietary reports and referrals. Most common cases you see in skilled nursing facilities are trouble with swallowing.

“About 70% of cases are swallowing related, we do a lot of dysphagia cases. Then about 40% for cognition and communication problems,” Brenda said.

Once Brenda receives the referral, which could range from a resident coughing or choking while eating to not managing their meals appropriately to weight loss concerns, she can then properly assist the resident and design a plan to best suit their needs. Brenda will specifically utilize the meal to see how their anatomy and motor skills are functioning, and if they continue to show the signs and symptoms that nursing has reported.

“A lot of the times we really try not to change, but to make little tweaks here and there, so they can be safe and don’t develop any problems within their respiratory system or pneumonia or any other issues with their GI system,” said Brenda.

What most people don’t know is that an SLP can work across multiple populations, in all ideologies. Brenda has worked across a wide range of settings from NICU babies in hospitals to young adults in schools to now seniors in skilled nursing facilities. Although Brenda has over 30 years of experience working in this field, she finds herself truly valuing her work with each resident here at DOS.

“During my 10th year in the field, I thought maybe I would try something different, but I realized quickly that something else is not for me, and my path continued from there with Speech Pathology,” Brenda said.

A Speech-Language Pathologist needs to have much patience and persistence when working one-on-one, but the end result of seeing improvement and growth is worth it.

Thank you to Brenda for your continued hard work and efforts, we are lucky to have you at Daughters of Sarah!!