BAYADA News blog

Woman with ALS Speaks Again After Three Years

Posted by Jim Armstrong

Nov 21, 2014 9:41:00 AM

Lisa_Davis,_Bea_L,_Shanta_W-FOR-BLOG

Clinical Manager Beatrice Lewis, client Lisa D., and BAYADA Nurse Shanta Waugh

Like so many others with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a debilitating and terminal neurological disease, Lisa D. lost her ability to walk, sit up, and breathe. To connect the assistive device that would enable her to breathe, she needed a tracheotomy—a small incision cut in her neck. Following this procedure, Lisa could no longer speak, leaving her family heartbroken.

Her family thought her inability to speak was a result of the disease. Bed bound for three years and only leaving her house for doctor appointments, her quality of life dramatically declined. Then, her family switched to BAYADA Home Health Care.

Determined for Lisa to regain some independence, her BAYADA Nurses helped her to sit up on the edge of her bed. Slowly, they transitioned her into a wheelchair, providing her with a sense of freedom and dignity that she had not known for years.

Although she had developed new ways of communicating with those around her, her therapists knew that if she could still swallow, she should be able to speak. They asked Lisa if she would be willing to let them try a new process that may help her regain her voice; she was excited and thankful to have this opportunity.

He care team carefully put the cuff down on Lisa’s tracheostomy collar and attached a speaking valve. They adjusted the settings and everyone stepped back in anticipation. After a few moments of silence that seemed like an eternity, something happened that her care team had not experienced before: Lisa greeted them with “Hi.” It was her first word in more than three years.

Lisa’s family and care team were moved to tears by the sound of her voice. Her speech therapist assured Lisa and her family that with a bit of work, she would be able to speak fluidly. Now, Lisa is able to string together sentences with ease. Her BAYADA Clinical Manager Beatrice Lewis says, “Lisa is so deserving of this joyful moment. I call her my ’little angel’ because she always remains positive and is a pleasure to work with—even during her hardest days.”

Despite the long road ahead, Lisa and her family have something to be thankful for—an improved quality of life as she continues her battle with ALS.

Topics: Home Health Care

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