Beebe Medical Center Offers Important Speech Language Therapies on an Inpatient and Outpatient Basis

by Dave on August 12, 2010

Most of us have heard about the child who visits a speech therapist because of lisp or stutter or some other speech problem. But how many of us realize the important role that this professional plays in the lives of people who suffer strokes or other neurological problems such as Alzheimer’s that hamper their ability to communicate?

“Speech language pathologists can make a critical difference in how a patient is able to recover from a stroke or serious trauma,” says Graham Robbins, PT, Director of Rehab Services at Beebe Medical Center.

Beebe Medical Center, which has continued to expand both its outpatient and inpatient healthcare services in recent years to meet the needs of the community, now has a team of five certified speech / language pathologists (CCC/SLPs). Through a physician referral, patients can work with these professionals at the outpatient facilities in Rehoboth Beach, Millsboro, and Millville, as well as at the main campus in Lewes. They also can work with them in the patient’s home through Beebe Home Health.

“There is so much that we can do to help patients struggling with voice-and-communication-related neurological and aging issues,” says explains Michele Poynton-Marsh, MA CCC/SLP, Lead Speech / Language Pathologist at Beebe Medical Center.

One example Mrs. Poynton-Marsh cited was dysphagia, which is a difficulty in swallowing.

“People often believe that it is just a common problem of aging, but that does not have to be the case. There are exercises and treatments that can help patients strengthen the muscles in their throats and so improve their swallowing so that they are not afraid of choking or developing pneumonia.”

Speech language pathologists also teach memory strategies that help patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The pathologists work with both the patients and their caregivers. They also work with patients suffering from chronic neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease to help them communicate better. At present, Mrs. Poynton-Marsh and Beebe Health Campus Speech/ Language Pathologist Holly Sullivan are taking part in a Beebe-University of Delaware partnership pilot study to determine whether a community-based exercise program could help patients with chronic physical disabilities maintain the goals they reached in their therapy programs. The two speech language pathologists are treating Parkinson’s patients with a voice therapy that helps them increase the loudness of their voices so that they can continue to communicate.

For more information on speech/language pathology, contact the Beebe Rehab Services at (302) 645-3235. These services are available through physician referral.

Caption: The team of speech language pathologists at Beebe Medical Center offers several important outpatient services to the community, as well as services to inpatients. Seated, left to right, are: Yvette Kottman, Linda Miller-Torbit, Michele Poynton-Marsh, Gena Kuon and Holly Sullivan.

Beebe Medical Center is a not-for-profit community medical center with a charitable mission to encourage healthy living, prevent illness, and restore optimal health with the people residing, working, or visiting in the communities we serve. For more information, please visit us online at

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