Dealing with a severe speech disorder and transitioning from hospital to home was more than enough for the Freeborn family to cope with. Adding COVID-19 to the mix and hospital visitor restrictions, and problems could have easily gone from bad to worse.
Despite those challenges, this family was able to find a way around those obstacles, with the help of Kelly Talbott, a speech language pathologist at Kelowna General Hospital (KGH).
Larry Freeborn was in hospital dealing with Wernicke’s aphasia, a disorder which makes it difficult for him to understand the meaning of spoken words and sentences. This condition also makes it a struggle for him to use words to express himself in a meaningful way.
Earlier this month, Larry was finally well enough to go home. Prior to leaving KGH, Larry and his family needed help figuring out how to communicate with each other. But with physical distancing regulations at the hospital, the ideal process of face-to-face education in the same room was not an option.
So Kelly devised a work-around to help this family get the support they needed at a critical time in their lives. In the days leading up to Larry’s transition home, Kelly joined his family from a safe distance on their daily visits with Larry though a hospital window.
Through the window, she demonstrated the techniques this family would need to be successful communicating with each other.
Although life inside and outside the hospital is not what it used to be, creativity and a people-focused approach made a big impact in the lives of this family.