SunPorch of Dodge City Now Offers In-house Speech/Language Therapy

SunPorch of Dodge City Now Offers In-house Speech/Language Therapy

September 2019 • Contact: Debbie Allen, 620-227-7512 •

SunPorch Dodge Speech/Language Therapy Patient
Sydnee Cole, speech/language pathologist at SunPorch of Dodge City, uses flash cards that she made to help Patsy Burnett, SunPorch elder, with her memory and word pronunciation.

A new service at SunPorch of Dodge City is now available to help elders communicate their wants and needs more clearly, said Sheila Bills, state director of Aegis Therapies.

Aegis has added speech/language therapy to its other services at SunPorch, which include physical and occupational therapies.
Swallowing difficulties and dementia-related issues are common problems that can be alleviated with the support of a speech/language pathologist (SLP), Bills said.

Torrie Smith and Sydnee Cole are the two SLPs on the SunPorch team.

“Torrie and Sydnee are available to assess, diagnose and treat issues related to swallowing, dementia and other concerns,” said Bills, who also is an SLP. “They are trained in dysphagia, which refers to swallowing disorders.

“When someone has difficulty swallowing, it takes more time and effort to move food or liquid to the stomach safely.”

Causes of dysphagia include aging, limited motor functions, lack of adequate sensation in the throat and various inadequacies with the swallowing mechanism.

When dementia is the issue, an SLP provides re-education in language skills and auditory processing.

“Tasks involving recall and retention help the patient improve in areas of general knowledge, immediate memory skills and problem solving,” Bills noted. “The goal is to help the person better communicate wants, needs and concerns.”

SLPs also treat conditions involving hearing, articulation, coordination of breathing with speaking and swallowing, and skills for everyday living.

“The addition of SLP services at SunPorch demonstrates that its staff members are very progressive in making sure elders are number one,” Bills commented. “They realize that speech/language therapy is very important and will do all they can to enhance the elders’ quality of life. Speech therapy plays a big role in this.”

Debbie Allen, SunPorch marketing and community liaison, said speech therapy has been “hard to come by in smaller communities. We are very fortunate to be able to provide this service to our elders.

“It is a great addition to our in-house therapy department, especially for those who have dementia or are recovering from a stroke,” Allen continued. “All of us appreciate our new partnership with Aegis Therapies.”

Sarah Campbell