It took an Illinois skilled nursing facility nearly a year to get an Augmentative & Alternative Communication device. But the effort was worth it since it helped a resident with multiple sclerosis communicate with his son again. 

Accolade Healthcare, a 75-bed skilled nursing facility in Paxton, IL, achieved a rare accomplishment when its insurance company agreed to pay for the device. 

The facility sought it for resident David Braemer, 32, who isn’t able to use his voice due to the disease. The device allows a person to generate speech by simply using his eyes. 

The process to get the device included writing, reporting and conducting assessments. The provider had to wait about six months for approval. 

Jackie Meyer, a speech language pathologist for Renewal Rehab, said she’s not aware of any other facilities in Illinois that have the device.

“It was definitely a longshot,” Meyer (shown with Braemer above, left) told McKnight’s

Since its arrival in September, the device has been life-changing for Braemer, who can now better communicate with his family, including his son, Alex. “Everything about his stay here is better because of it,” Administrator Jonas Hoedebecke said. “He’s happy, he’s joking and he’s really able to show his personality.”