Navigation, Organization, and Treatment Apps to make your life easier!
1. Google Maps App
Google Maps offers the best driving, public transportion, and walking navigation for most areas.
One awesome feature is that you can still get step-by-step driving navigation EVEN if your cell coverage is poor. To do this, you’ll need to get online and download the map of the area you’ll be driving onto your device. This way, even if your internet connection cuts out, the app will be able to navigate using your offline maps. Yay!
2. Waze App
Another excellent navigation app, Waze is a go-to for Uber and Lyft drivers, some of the few people on earth who drive MORE than a home health therapist!
We read through Uber-driver threads on reddit (your welcome) and found this feedback “…Waze gives you heads up for construction, road closures, accidents, jams, police, debris on road and more.” Super useful.
Pro-tip: our Dad was a Lyft driver, and he would sometimes use both apps simultaneously. That may be a bit much, but just might help you out if you really want to shave a couple minutes off your commute.
3. RoadWarrior Route Planner
The RoadWarrior Route Planner app was created for delivery people. Their catch phrase is “Get Route Warrior, Crush Your Route, and Get Home Early.” Sounds good to us!
On this app, you can add in all your stops for the day and it will optimize your route so that you have as little drive time as possible.
4. Flashlight Apps
Works well when you can’t find your penlight!
If you have a newer phone, it will almost certainly already have a Flashlight feature on it. These work great.
But if you’re kicking it old school and need to download an app, here’s a list of free Android flashlight apps that don’t require extra permissions (link here).
5. Google Drive App
Google Drive is an online ‘cloud’ that offers a LOT of free cloud storage, just for signing up. You can save PDF versions of workbooks, homework, Evaluation Templates (link here), Patient Handouts (link here), and helpful resources (check out The Home Health SLP Handbook).
You can access Google Drive from your computer as well as download the app version on mobile devices. This makes it super convenient to, let’s say, create a home program on your laptop, upload it to Google Drive, then open it on your phone to share with a patient the next day.
Pro Tip: Also download a PDF reader app, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader for PDF by Adobe Inc. or PDF Expert 7: PDF Editor by Readdle, Inc. Many PDF readers are free and allow you to save PDF files (including entire books) just in case you don’t have cell reception or WiFi access.
Is Google Drive HIPAA compliant? Nope. Google reserves the right to view and use anything you upload onto the cloud.
Please, please, please follow HIPAA guidelines and DON’T store any Protected Health Information (PHI) on Google Drive or any other private cloud drive. Know your company’s guidelines for PHI and educate yourself (refer to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services here).
6. Text-to-Speech App
These apps can be life changing and huge money savers for our AAC patients. In fact, more and more frequently my patients with trachs are choosing to communicate primarily via texting or text-to-speech apps instead of using fully loaded AAC devices.
There are plenty of Text-to-Speech options out there. We waded through a bunch, looking for a straightforward, uncluttered app that works well. Plenty of patients with AAC needs have cognitive issues as well, so simpler is better, in our opinion.
Based on this criteria, we recommend Talk For Me – Text to Speech by Darrin Altman. It was designed and engineered by a person who lost the ability to speech. And it has great reviews (link here).
7. Sound Level Meter App
A Sound Level Meter measures sound pressure in dB, which comes in handy for voice and motor speech patients. It’s also a necessary component of LSVT Loud treatment.
Again, there are plenty of options out there. Decibel X: dB, dBA Noise Meter by Sky Paw Co. is a solid app for Speech Therapy purposes (there’s also a Pro version which removes all ads, has unlimited data saving, and unlocks some frequency filters).
With any sound level meter, remember to maintain a consistent mouth-to-microphone distance. You may need to hold your device or get creative with stacking books, etc., in order to achieve this.
8. Musical Tuner App
Musical tuner apps, such as Decibel X: dB, dBA Noise Meter by Sky Paw Co., can be used with LSVT Loud patients so that you can record the frequency or pitch of the patient’s high and low AHs.
Knowing a patient’s voice frequency can also be a useful part of the evaluation for voice patients who have severe tension.
9. Voice Recorder App
A Voice Recorder is very useful with voice, motor speech, and fluency patients. The recorder helps you evaluate connected speech during a monologue or paragraph reading. With the ability to pause and rewind, you can sometimes identify errors that you might not have caught the first time.
Most mobile devices come with a voice recorder. Make sure you store info on a HIPAA compliant device! Never use personal cloud storage. Also, follow the privacy and permission guidelines outlined by your company before recording your patients.
10. Metronome App
A metronome app can be an excellent treatment and homework tool for our fluency patients to help with pacing and decreasing speaking rate.
Pro Metronome is a great, easy-to-use option. It’s highly regarded by both Speech-Language Pathologists and professional musicians. See the video above for a tutorial from the app creators.
11. A Calculator App
…For when you also don’t know the answers to the executive functioning problem.
Your phone will come preloaded with a calculator app. We don’t see a reason why you would need to download another one, but we won’t judge!
12. Heads Up! App
This is a great (and fun!) game to play with your patients with aphasia. There is also a Heads Up! Kids version which uses pictures and doesn’t require reading to play.
Fun fact: Heads Up! was created by Ellen DeGeneres
The board game Taboo! can be an excellent game for our patients who have aphasia. There are several versions of Taboo! in app form. Unspoken Word Game by Refik Kasal is a fun option.
14. Google Translate App
Google Translate, while far from perfect for the health care provider, is still an incredibly helpful app. It can translate voice, text, entire pages of documentation, websites, etc.
For a document, for example, you can simply hoover your phone over the document and get a live translation on your screen. You can also “translate by speech”, where you speak into your phone and the app will “speak” the translated version (only available for some languages). Many of these features also work off line!
15. Libby App and/or a Podcast App
Libby by Overdrive is a truly fantastic app which allows you to download audiobooks and ebooks from your library. For free! Learn, laugh, and cry as you sit in traffic between patients.
Pro Tip: open a library account for the largest library system you are eligible for- they’ll have the best selection of books available.
We’re probably preaching to the choir, but Podcasts are also an excellent way to learn and be entertained while commuting. There are several dedicated Speech Therapy podcasts- but we recommend listening to whatever brings you energy and joy.
If you have an iPhone, the Podcasts App is a great option. If not already preloaded on your phone, it’s available for free on the App store. For Androids, Google Podcasts and Spotify have great selections and are very convenient if you already use either platform.
In summary, the 15 Helpful Apps for Home Health SLPs are:
1) Google Maps App
2) Waze App
3) RoadWarrior Route Planner App
4) Flashlight App
5) Google Drive App
6) Text-to-Speech App (Talk for Me – Text to Speech)
7) Sound Level Meter App (Decibel X: dB, dBA Noise Meter)
8) Musical Tuner App (Decibel X: dB, dBA Noise Meter again)
9) Voice Recorder App
10) Metronome App (Pro Metronome)
11) Calculator App
12) Heads Up! App
13) Taboo! App (Unspoken Word Game)
14) Google Translate App
15) Libby App & Podcast App
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