St. Vincent’s opens outpatient speech therapy department

Published 1:32 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Ascension St. Vincent’s Chilton hospital streamlined its speech therapy services by opening an outpatient office on Nov. 1. The speech department offered inpatient services and selective outpatient services before the addition since the hospital opened its doors, but now patients in the Chilton County community can stay local throughout their recovery process.

“In essence, we are opening up speech therapy to where we are doing pretty much anything someone in this community would be looking for, so they do not have to leave Clanton or Chilton County to go get those services,” Shanon Hamilton, Administrator at St. Vincent’s Chilton, said.

Modified Barium Swallow, to see if food or water enters one’s lungs after swallowing, was the lone outpatient service St. Vincent’s Chilton offered before the addition. Now, the new outpatient services added are already being utilized as patients were on the appointment list Nov. 1.

“We saw a need … The only place we knew to send anybody was to Montevallo where there was a program, so there really is a need here,” Anna Hart, Rehab Manager at St. Vincent’s Chilton, said.

Jennie Gables, the speech therapist at St. Vincent’s Chilton, will be working closely with the patients in the new outpatient wing. She primarily works with adults, but there are services for children if they are needed.

Gables said the best part about adding the new outpatient wing is that she can follow the patient from their inpatient to outpatient care. The familiarity she has with them gives her the ability to craft her care around their needs after weeks of working with them before, which was not the case before the addition.

“When a patient comes in here through the inpatient or outpatient services, they are evaluated, and based on their needs, treatment is provided,” Gables said. “We will treat them here as long as they need therapy, and if they need therapy after they are discharged, they now have access to streamline that into an outpatient service they did not have before. They had to restart that whole process again with someone they never met before.”

Swallowing, neurogenic disorders and Parkinson’s Disease are some of the issues the outpatient wing can assist patients with. Also, people working to get back after suffering a stroke or a traumatic brain injury can utilize the services to great benefit as well.

Hamilton said he encourages anyone in the Chilton County community who is looking for some kind of speech therapy to give St. Vincent’s a call to see how they can assist them to either start treatment there, or get their treatment transferred.

For more information about the services the speech department provides or to schedule an appointment, call 205-258-4454.