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May 20, 2014     Cape Gazette
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Health & Fitness 18 TUESDAY, MAY 20 - THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2014 Cape Gazette Free speech, language consultations offered Speech pathologist specializes in voice disorders By Molly MacMillan mollymac@capegazette.com Free consultations will be of- fered for the month of May for people with a wide range of speech problems who could ben- efit from the help of a speech pathologist. Speech-language pathologist Michele Poynton-Marsh has announced she will offer free consultations at her outpatient office on Savannah Road during May, Better Hearing and Speech Month. Poynton-Marsh specializes in STUTTERING AND ARTICULATION DISORDERS MAKE UP A SIGNIFICANT PORTION OF THESE PRACTICES, BUT PATHOLOGISTS MAY ALSO ASSIST CLIENTS WITH SWALLOWING, MEMORY AND COGNITION IMPAIRMENTS. speech services for adults and offers treatment for clients who are suffering from Parkinson's, stroke or closed-head injuries, she said. She is offering a con- sultation to anyone who feels they may benefit from speech services. "I specialize in voice disorders. Especially with Parkinson's, you see a hypophonia, or low speech volume," Poynton-Marsh said. "Stroke patients may suffer from aphasia. Sometimes they need to use augmentative speech devices that will talk for them." Her outpatient office, in the yellow Atlantic Professional Building on Savannah Road near Five Points, primarily serves adults, but in May she will offer consultations and referrals for anyone who could benefit from the skills of a speech-language pathologist. Speech-language pathologists do more than correct pronun- ciation, she said. Stuttering and articulation disorders make up a significant portion of these prac- tices, but pathologists may also assist clients with swallowing, memory and cognition impair- ments. "Stroke patients may choke, so we do exercises to help strength- en the swallowing muscles and modify the diet for safer food or perhaps thicken liquids so they don't aspirate," she said. Memory disorders and dif- ficulty maintaining focus can occur after a concussion or other closed-head injury in people of all ages, she said. Speech patholo- gists help design therapies to communicate despite new limi- tations. Delaware has a shortage of speech-language pathologists, which Poynton-Marsh attributes to the absence of graduate-level academic programs in the spe- cialty. University of Delaware is look- ing for a founding director for a proposed speech-language pa- thology graduate program, so the number of pathologists may soon begin to rise, Poynton-Marsh said. Although the program has yet to launch, Poynton-Marsh said she wants to open her office to prospective students who need observation hours, which are often a component of application materials. Poynton-Marsh Speech Ser- vices is at 1632 Savannah Road, near Five Points. For more infor- mation, visit www.mpmspeech. com or call 302-644-1220. MOLLY MACMILLAN PHOTO MICHELE POYNTON-Marsh is available Tuesdays and Thursdays at her out- patient office on Savannah Road, Nurse turns dream of service to others into reality at Delaware Hospice Although she was born and raised in England, Moyra Molina, RN, was American at heart from childhood. She said, "My father was American and my mother British, but my father died when I was a baby. I had this obsession about the fact that I should have been raised in America. So I pestered my morn all of my child- hood about this, and at the age of 17, she finally agreed to sign for me to join the U.S. Air Force." Molina served for 25 years. Along the way, she married and raised three sons. Also along the way, she realized a new obsession to launch a career as a nurse. "My interest in nursing began when I had my first son. He was born premature and was placed in a neonatal unit for a month. During that time, I was amazed at how these nurses were not only taking such wonderful care of him, but also of me. They were so kind and compassionate. They understood how frightened I was without me saying a word about it. I remember thinking if I was a nurse, that's how I'd be. The seed was planted. Life and more children came along, and it was 13 years later that I finally started nursing school." Molina believes the timing was perfect; she knew. then that her primary interest would be working with older and seriously ill individuals nearing the end of life. After earning her degree and gaining valuable experience at the Intermediate Care Unit at Kent General, Molina was hired as a hospice nurse with Delaware Hospice in 2008. One patient motivated her decision to contact Delaware Hospice. She said, "This patient was in and out of the hospital repeatedly. Clearly, his illness was not something that could be fixed. We were bringing him in, patching him up, to just go home for a few days and then return. No one was having the conversation with this patient or family about other options. That weighed on me. I also real- ized that I personally was having issues with how task-driven nursing had become in facilities. There was no time to actually be with a patient." Delivering care in the home isn't always an easy change for nurses coming from the controlled environments of hos- pitals. Molina felt comfortable from the start. "As a hospice nurse, you never know what type of environment or situation you're walking into. It's always an adventure!" Moyra Molina A hospice nurse must be able to function in less-than-perfect conditions. Molina remembers a home where the patient smoked one cigarette after another. "That was one of his pleasures, and that's what he did. He also had two little dogs. I don't think I ever listened to his lungs or took his blood pressure when I didn't have smoke in my face and both dogs on either my lap or his!" She said some families collect things, which is always a great ice breaker. One might say, "I see you're into ceramic dogs," and then they'll tell stories about their collection. Finding homes in rural areas can be particularly challenging, and Molina remarked that if she had tried to do this before the era of GPS, it would not have been good! On-call hospice nurses oc- casionally travel in the middle of the night to homes in rough neighborhoods or through bliz- zard conditions. Molina said, "What gets me through these uneasy feelings is to focus on the patient and family's needs. For someone to call in the middle of the night, you know that they re- ally need help. I feel compelled to get to them to relieve a symptom or simply to reassure them that they're doing everything they need to do." In traditional nursing, there's an emphasis on educating the patient and family about what to do and how to do it. "But in hospice," Molina said, "You must do more listening. You must hear them first, because certain approaches won't work with cer- tain people. Patients and families coping with a serious illness are overwhelmed, upset, or even angry. You are the one who must adjust to wherethey are in order to find the best way to help this unique person and family." Molina feels hospice nursing is special because it transcends all things that make people dif- ferent. "We have this thing in common - that I'm human and so are you. We have all experienced loss, and we will all face the end of life. We know that on this one level, we're all similar, and this important connection allows us to be more helpful to them." Molina visited patients occa- sionally at the Delaware Hospice Center and was struck by how calm and serene it was. "I offered to serve as a part-time nurse there, and found myself feeling very useful. I felt equipped and supportive for this inpatient level of care for patients with out-of- control symptoms," she said. She transitioned from home care to the center, served for a year and a half as a team leader, and pres- ently continues to serve patients and families there. "People are so grateful for our care, but really, for me, I'm the grateful one," Molina said. "I believe that we are at our most content when we are giving of ourselves. Whatever I've been able to give to patients and their families has come back to me Continued on page 21