SwallowSTRONG System Update

Regretfully, we will stop accepting orders for new SwallowSTRONG Systems after November 15, 2017. We will, however, continue to support the SwallowSTRONG product line, including selling mouthpieces and spare parts and providing technical and clinical support, for as long as there is reasonable demand.

Swallow Solutions cares deeply about helping individuals with dysphagia. The company is backed by a passionate group of investors who are committed to supporting you and your patients. The company will continue to operate, with a focus on commercializing new innovations in dysphagia treatment. We hope to launch a new oropharyngeal strengthening device at some point in the future.

The clinical outcomes realized with the SwallowSTRONG System continue to be very positive. Unfortunately, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently informed us that they will not create product-specific billing codes for oropharyngeal strengthening devices. This decision, which follows more than two years of discussions with the agency, essentially prevents direct reimbursement for the product by any payers—Medicare or private insurance. Lack of reimbursement, in turn, means that the devices are not accessible to the majority of dysphagic patients. Under these conditions, it is not economically viable to continue manufacturing and selling SwallowSTRONG Systems.

There is no limit on the number of new SwallowSTRONG Systems that may be ordered between now and November 15. We encourage those of you who have experienced success with the SwallowSTRONG System to order more systems during this period. Again, we will continue to meet your future needs for new mouthpieces, technical support, and clinical support.

Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions.

Sincerely yours,

 

Eric H. Horler

President and CEO

Swallow Solutions

ehorler@swallowsolutions.com

Case Study: Frail Patient Upgrades Diet after Using SwallowSTRONG

Bernice, an 81-year-old resident in a skilled nursing facility, was having difficulty swallowing, but was also generally a frail patient. She suffered from general weakness, renal insufficiency, congestive heart failure, and recurrent pneumonia.
 
When she underwent her swallowing evaluation, Bernice was coughing and choking during meals, despite being on a diet of mechanical soft solids and nectar-thick liquids. According to her therapist, Bernice was “not at all happy,” about her modified diet, and her liquid intake was reduced while on it. Patients with recurrent pneumonia sometimes must be on a modified diet to prevent food “going down the wrong pipe” and into the lungs.
Bernice underwent strengthening therapy using the SwallowSTRONG five to six times a week for eight weeks, focusing on the front and back portions of the tongue. By the fourth week, her swallowing had improved and her diet was upgraded to a full regular diet.
 
Check out Bernice’s full case study here.
A note on case studies: Individual names have been changed to protect patient identities, but the stories and data contained in these studies are generated by real patients.

VIDEO: SwallowSTRONG Patient Testimonial

Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, impacts a wide range of patients. Swallowing problems often occur in patients with weak lingual musculature, but can also be caused by stroke, Parkinson’s Disease or cancers of the head and neck.

Mark, a head and neck cancer survivor, is one such patient. After being diagnosed with cancer and undergoing surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, he began to encounter swallowing problems. He found it harder and harder to swallow, and often found that he would aspirate, or have things he swallowed go down the wrong pipe, straight into his lungs.

Then Mark found treatment with the SwallowSTRONG System. In the video below, Mark describes his positive experience with the SwallowSTRONG therapy solution.

Check out Mark’s story:

For more information, visit swallowsolutions.com

VIDEO: SwallowSTRONG Mouthpiece Configuration

A video guide for clinicians working with the SwallowSTRONG on how to properly configure the patient mouthpiece.

Swallow Solutions Mouthpiece Configuration from Swallow Solutions on Vimeo.

REMINDER: We have a full library of training resources and videos available on our website. Bookmark this page, and save it for later!

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VIDEO: SwallowSTRONG System Overview

Our latest video, embedded below, shows how patients and clinicians can use the SwallowSTRONG System from Swallow Solutions to treat dysphagia.

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Swallow Solutions Mourns Patient, Friend Jane Marita

We are sad to report a close friend of Swallow Solutions and one of the first users of our strengthening system has passed away after a long battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Jane Marita started with the program when she was first diagnosed with ALS and used the system every other day until her death, three years later. She credited oropharyngeal strengthening with allowing her to safely eat burritos (extra sauce!) even as the other challenges of ALS were taking their toll.  

She will be missed.

Swallowing Problems? Understand Your Treatment Options

If you or a loved one is having difficulty swallowing, it’s important to understand the treatment options available to you.

Thickened fluids and foods. G-tubes. These have their place and can be an important piece of a course of treatment. However, there’s another option that can help patients regain the ability to swallow after treatment: the SwallowSTRONG System by Swallow Solutions.

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What is the SwallowSTRONG?

The SwallowSTRONG is a device that pairs cutting-edge technology and evidence-based practices for an innovative solution to swallowing problems. Designed for use in the home, under the guidance of a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) or other qualified clinician, the SwallowSTRONG helps patients strengthen the muscles of the mouth and throat, making it easier for patients to swallow.

Does it work?

Yes. Independent studies have found that that treatment with the SwallowSTRONG has resulted in fewer hospital admissions, upgraded diets and improved quality of life.

Is it affordable?

Swallow Solutions is dedicated to improving the health and quality of life of patients with swallowing disorders, and have developed a rental model that will make treatment with the SwallowSTRONG more affordable than ever.

Patients can now rent a SwallowSTRONG System directly from Swallow Solutions for only $200 a month (typical treatment course is 2-3 months). With the one-time purchase of the $195 mouthpiece required for each individual, patients can get access to treatment for a total cost of less than $600.

How can I learn more?

If the SwallowSTRONG System sounds like it could be a solution to your swallowing problem, contact Swallow Solutions at 608-238-6678 for more information.
NOTE: Every patient is different and treatment decisions should be made under the guidance of a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) or other qualified clinician.

Something to Be Thankful For

This week, many of us will gather with friends and family to give thanks the things we’re grateful for. We’ll sit around tables laden with all varieties of different food, and come back for seconds (or thirds).

But the Thanksgiving holiday isn’t so easy for people with dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing.

For these people, eating or drinking can be a difficult, even dangerous task. The inability to swallow limits their ability to partake in holiday meals. These people often withdraw from meals, making Thanksgiving feel quite lonesome.

But here’s something to be thankful for: a new innovation called the SwallowSTRONG.

The SwallowSTRONG is a therapy device that helps dysphagia patients regain the ability to eat and drink safely by strengthening the muscles involved in the swallowing process.

After undergoing treatment with the SwallowSTRONG, dysphagia patients can once again have a seat at the table.

CASE STUDY: Patient with Aneurysm and Severe Dysphagia has G-tube Removed After Using SwallowSTRONG

The patient, “John” has lived in a skilled nursing facility in Texas since suffering a large aneurysm. For 2.5 years, John received all nutrition via a G-tube. The speech pathologist, Emily –  employed by Rehab Synergies – had worked with John before, but was able to pick him back up on caseload when she got the SwallowSTRONG System. The SwallowSTRONG technology allowed for a new and more systematic approach to oropharyngeal strengthening.

At the start of therapy with the SwallowSTRONG, John was barely able to move his tongue. Under the excellent direction of Emily, he progressively strengthened his swallowing muscles, and is now able to eat orally and had the G-tube removed. 

Emily reported, “The patient and family loved seeing the progress in real time with the user interface as well as the progress printouts from the SwallowSTRONG Management System. SwallowSTRONG allowed us to push for maximum improvement and validated that patient was making progress. It’s definitely a great product to have in your therapy arsenal, especially after seeing the impact it made on such a severe case.”

John, his family,Emily and the team are all celebrating these significant improvements in swallowing safety and quality of life!

Recognizing Swallowing Problems in People with Dementia

Dysphagia is a serious issue regardless of other conditions the person may have. It can lead to serious health consequences, like malnutrition, aspiration pneumonia, and reduced quality of life.

But the condition can be even more difficult for people with dementia, and diagnosing a swallowing problem in a demented person can be difficult. Dementia patients may have difficulty communicating, or may forget that they have issues with swallowing food or drink.

How can clinicians or caretakers guard against dysphagia in patients with dementia?

Here are some subtle signs that may indicate a swallowing problem:

  • Coughing during eating
  • Constant clearing of the throat
  • Grimaces or painful expression during eating
  • Holding food in the side of the mouth
  • Spitting out food
  • Drooling while eating
  • Eating too fast
  • Unexpected weight lost
  • Wet, gurgle or hoarse-sounding voice
  • Touching the upper chest or throat when eating
  • Taking too much time to eat
  • Sorting, arranging, or playing with food
  • Excessive chewing, but no swallowing
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose

(Click here for more suggestions on recognizing, diagnosing and treating dysphagia in demented patients).

Swallow Solutions offers an innovative dysphagia treatment device called the SwallowSTRONG. The device strengthens the muscles involved in the swallow, and can help some people regain their ability to swallow. And, it’s so intuitive, patients with dementia have had success with the device.