Talking Up Maimonides’ Swallow & Speech Program

Maimonides is expanding patient care and rehabilitation services across multiple disciplines. One of these offerings is the Swallow & Speech Program, led by Luis Riquelme, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-S.

“Maimonides speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work with adults and children who have a variety of communication and swallowing/feeding disorders,” Dr. Riquelme shared. “Patients can get treatment while they’re hospitalized, or through our outpatient clinic.”

This new addition to the Department is in the midst of a transformation to provide better speech and swallow services. Dr. Riquelme highlighted several priorities for the direction of this dynamic service:

  • Expanding pediatric SLP services. In collaboration with the NICU and all pediatric units, the Swallow & Speech Program is expanding the presence of SLPs to treat our youngest patients.
  • Collaborating with ENTs to treat voice disorders. Adding a voice specialist to the SLP staff is a priority to streamline evaluation and care for patients who struggle with conditions that affect their voice.
  • Providing alaryngeal voice treatment. The new Assistant Director of SLP, Alexandra Soyfer, MS, CCC-SLP, provides treatment to improve voice and swallowing function for patients who have head and neck cancer. She’s the only alaryngeal voice specialist in Brooklyn.
  • Strengthening collaboration with our neurology team. About 89% of people who have Parkinson’s disease develop a speech, voice, or swallowing disorder. Patients with other neurological diagnoses also experience these complications. Partnering with neurology allows Maimonides SLPs to treat patients with progressive neurological disorders earlier and more effectively.

Other specialists should refer patients for SLP services when they are experiencing coughing, choking, sensation of “leftover” food or drink in their throat after swallowing, or if they have a history of respiratory congestion or pneumonia, difficulty swallowing pills, or other concerns about swallowing. Patients who experience difficulty expressing and understanding speech or an unclear voice and speech may also benefit from SLP treatment.

To refer your patients for an evaluation, email [email protected], or call the outpatient Swallow and Speech Center at (718) 283-7024.

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