VNA Answer Nurse: Q&A, Diabetes

Paula Thibideau is a Licensed Practical Nurse with the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) and coordinates all aspects of community wellness for the non-profit home healthcare agency.

My husband recently had a stroke and was referred to a speech therapist. How can a speech therapist help?

A stroke can damage the part of the brain that controls language and a person’s ability to communicate. Individuals may not be able to make their needs known or may struggle to find words, confuse words or mumble. A speech therapist can help a patient relearn language and, also, learn to use different forms of communication.

Q: Do stroke patients always receive rehabilitation?

A: A doctor determines the need for rehabilitation. It’s based on what’s happened as a result of the stroke. For example, some individuals may know what they want to say and can’t find the words; some individuals may slur their words; and others may have difficulty swallowing. Speech therapy rehabilitation may include exercises and activities which help strengthen speech and vocal muscles and improve swallowing.

Q:  What are the warning signs of a stroke?

A:   One acronym used to identify symptoms is F.A.S.T.

  • F – Face: When you smile does your face droop?
  • A – Arms: When you lift your arms does one arm flail?
  • S – Speech: When you try to speak does your speech slur?
  • T – Time: If you are experiencing symptoms, time is critical, call 911

Q: Is speech therapy available through home health care?

A:  Home health care can provide skilled nursing and the following therapies: speech, occupational and physical therapy. Physicians refer home health care and patients must be considered home bound. Home Health can be paid for through Medicaid, Medicare and/or through some private insurances. 

Q:  Are there community resources for caregivers?

A:  One of the most important things a caregiver can do is seek support. Though rewarding, being a caregiver can be overwhelming. Check with local hospital, senior center or home care organization for a stroke support group.

This article is intended for educational purposes only. For specific concerns, please speak with your doctor.

The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) is committed to bringing trusted and quality private and home health care to Brevard County patients from Titusville to Barefoot Bay. For more information about VNA services, please visit