The Laryngectomee Society of Apollo Hospitals,Hyderabad
A laryngectomy imposes very significant and dramatic changes in the life of the laryngectomee. Overnight, the laryngectomee has to cope with major physical, social and psychological disturbances which can severely test even the toughest of individuals. Failure to come to terms with these changes can result in psychological stress, social isolation and depression .
Group therapy including interaction with other patients and their care-givers with similar disabilities has generally been found to be the best way for laryngectomees to handle these complex issues . The concept of the “Laryngectomee Club”, wherein the laryngectomees meet on a regular basis with fellow laryngectomees and their family members has therefore been an integral part of the rehabilitation process of the laryngectomee.
Although the concept was basically started as a social networking group, the inclusion of medical and related para-medical personnel can widen the scope of such a forum and can give the laryngectomee an opportunity to not only open up, make new friends and help in social re-adjustment but also gain useful medical advice in an informal setting.
In addition to the laryngectomee and his close family members who form the core members of this laryngectomee club, others whose involvement is essential in order to make this group cohesive and complete include;
- A Physician (ideally a Head & Neck Surgeon) familiar with laryngectomees and their needs.
- Speech Therapist
- Medical-Social Worker
- Psycho-Oncologist (if available)
Ideally, the club is managed and run by the laryngectomees themselves with one of them taking the lead. This helps in giving them the feeling of being in control and keeping the atmosphere informal. They are also more open and receptive to newer ideas and concepts in this setting rather than the formal settings of a doctor’s clinic. The other possible benefits of these group sessions are:
1. Encouragement to new patients
A recently diagnosed patient who has been advised a laryngectomy and his family members can gain great support and encouragement from seeing others who have undergone a similar procedure and are now able to lead normal, useful lives. Similarly a recently operated patient, still recovering from his surgery can also look forward to full recovery and rehabilitation after seeing fellow laryngectomees.
2. Coping up with day to day practicalities
Laryngectomees and their care givers have many issues which they may not want to discuss with their physician or para-medical group either because they may not be comfortable with it or may be afraid that it may be considered too trivial. The laryngectomee club would be an ideal platform to discuss these issues with fellow laryngectomees and their family members and find solutions.
3. Updating on latest technologies and innovations
New developments are happening on a regular basis in the field of post-laryngectomy rehabilitation at many pioneering centres in the World. The physician or speech therapist can update the laryngectomee on these developments and their possible benefits.
4. Vocational guidance
Following a laryngectomy, some patients may not be in a position to continue with the jobs they previously had or may have problems retaining them. The club can guide these patients into jobs more suitable to them. The social worker can also interact with their employers and have a frank discussion of what the laryngectomee can and cannot do and the adjustments that need to be done to get the laryngectomee to do his best in view of the changed circumstances.
5. Social interaction
Laryngectomees often avoid social interactions with others as they are apprehensive about meeting new people whom they feel may not be understanding enough with regard to their disability. The club provides an opportunity for them to meet and make new acquaintances and thus fulfils a social need as well as helps them to improve their social skills and self-confidence in mixing with other people in the community.
6. Opportunity for Research and Study
The club would also provide a useful “bank” of patients for assessing the outcomes of various rehabilitative initiatives and quality of life assessment studies. It has also been observed that once a laryngectomee is “hooked” on to this club concept, he becomes a regular at the meetings and also encourages others to do so. This makes the club a good method of ensuring long term follow-up of the laryngectomees.
Apollo Health City,
Call Center No 040-60601066
Toll No – 1860 500 1066