Our latest video, embedded below, shows how patients and clinicians can use the SwallowSTRONG System from Swallow Solutions to treat dysphagia.
The American Board of Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders recently welcomed the newest group of Board Certified Specialists in Swallowing & Swallowing Disorders. We’d like to join them in congratulating the following people, their mentors and their employers!
Employer: UC Health – University of Cincinnati Medical Center
Mentor: Angela Dubis-Bohn
Employer: San Diego Speech Therapy
Mentor: Donna Edwards
Employer: Progressive Rehabilitation Associates
Mentor: Lindsay Labrot
Employer: Texas Children’s Hospital
Mentor: Margaret Tiner
Though dysphagia can occur as a symptom of a larger disease, it can also occur in people as a part of normal aging. In fact, 22% of adults over age 50, and 55% of those in institutional settings suffer from dysphagia.
A post by Rebecca Leonard, Ph.D. on the National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders website outlined some of the ways how swallowing changes as we get older. Check out the list below:
We know that swallowing function changes as we age. Typically, we make compensations for our swallowing without knowing it, and many people continue to eat safely. However, as the population ages and more people encounter swallowing difficulty, it’s important we understand how to recognize and treat these changes so we can swallow safely into old age.
Read more on NFOSD.
June is National Dysphagia Awareness Month, and we at Swallow Solutions are hoping to raise awareness for this serious medical condition. Let’s start off with some facts about dysphagia. How many of these did you know?
1) Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, affects more than 15 million Americans.
2) Stroke, neurodegenerative disorders, and head and neck cancers are common causes of dysphagia.
3) Dysphagia can occur for a number of reasons, and is common in people with weak lingual musculature. Muscles in your head and neck enable you to swallow regular foods and liquids.
4) Dysphagia can lead to life threatening health complications, such as dehydration, malnutrition, aspiration pneumonia (when food or liquid ‘goes down the wrong pipe,’ and gets to the lungs) and/or airway obstruction.
5) Modified diets (thickened liquids or pureed solids) are commonly recommended for people with dysphagia.
6) Dysphagia can also result in reduced quality of life. Just think of how many social events are centered around eating and drinking! Now imagine not being able to participate fully in those events with friends and family.
7) Dysphagia can cause people to feel socially isolated and withdrawn.
8) Clinical evidence supports strengthening lingual musculature (something that can be accomplished using the SwallowSTRONG device) to increase swallowing ability. Therapy for dysphagia is often divided into two “camps:” Compensatory (diet modification) or Rehabilitative (lingual strengthening). Both can be used together!
9) Therapy for dysphagia is often divided into two “camps:” Compensatory (diet modification) or Rehabilitative (lingual strengthening). Both can be used together!
10) Compensatory strategies are often used early on in therapy, and can be eliminated as a dysphagia patient gets stronger and swallows more safely.
At Swallow Solutions, we believe in helping clinicians provide the best care possible to their patients.
As a means to that end, we offer an innovative product called the SwallowSTRONG Management System, or SSMS for short. SSMS allows clinicians and facilities to monitor de-identified patient strengthening performance data, based on the serial number of the mouthpiece.
While each SSMS utilization is different, we recently heard a story from an organization that had success using a centralized approach.
The facility had a clinical trainer, someone with strong knowledge of the SwallowSTRONG product, monitor SSMS as patient data from the current caseload began to appear in the system. By viewing the data related to patient performance, the clinical trainer was able to provide specific feedback to individual clinicians in order to optimize therapy outcomes for their patients.
For example, one patient was having a difficult time hitting their therapy targets. After receiving a suggestion to shorten the target duration, the clinician made an adjustment to the protocol so that the patient received more frequent positive reinforcement, yielding better results overall.
The unique functionality of SSMS maximizes the effect of therapy treatment with the SwallowSTRONG. When used together, they become a powerful tool in the fight against dysphagia.