Dysphagia Management

Dysphagia is a medical term for the symptom of difficulty in swallowing. Sufferers are sometimes unaware of their dysphagia. Some of the signs and symptoms include: difficulty controlling food in the mouth, inability to control food or saliva in the mouth, difficulty initiating a swallow, coughing, choking, frequent pneumonia, unexplained weight loss, gurgly or wet voice after swallowing, nasal regurgitation and difficulty swallowing food.¹ Currently, there are several medical modalities which can be used to benefit a patient who has been diagnosed with dysphagia.²

Common Conditions or Diagnosis for Dysphagia Management

    Signs of Choking When Eating                    Drooling/Poor Oral Motor Control
    Difficulty Chewing Foods                             Holding/Pocketing Food in Oral Cavity
    Recent Intubation                                       History of or Recurring Pneumonia
    Multiple Swallows                                       Frequent Coughing Immediately After Meal
    Throat Clearing and Coughing                      Coughing Before, During, or After Swallowing
    Traumatic Brain Injury                                 Cervical Spinal Cord Injury
    Neurological and Degenerative Diseases ie: Stroke, TIA’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, Dementia/Alzheimer’s

Our Interdisciplinary Approach

Skilled Nursing
    History and Physical                             Medication Review and Teaching
    Nutritional Assessment                         Vital Sign and Weight Monitoring
    PEG Tube/ Tracheostomy Care

Speech Therapy
    Complete Speech Therapy Evaluation                                 Modified Barium Swallow Study
    Oral/Pharyngeal/Hylolaryngal Exercise Program                  Vital Stim Therapy
    Nutrition and Hydration Education and Assessment             Preparation, and Thickening Liquids
    Diet and Liquid Consistency Assessment                           Education Regarding Food Consistency,
    Bedside and Oral Motor Examination and Screening            Compensatory Strategy Techniques

Physical Therapy
    Complete Therapy Evaluation                                     Strength and ROM Conditioning Exercises
    Home Safety Education                                             Trunk and Neck Control Activities  

Occupational Therapy
    Complete Therapy Assessment                            Feeding Positioning Assessment and Retraining
    Hand/Arm to Mouth Assessment (Self-Feeding)     Feeding Equipment Assessment and Training

Home Health Aide 
    Grooming and Bathing Assistance                         Light Housekeeping Pertaining to Patient Care Area

¹ 2011, Dysphagia, Wikipedia
² 2011, Dysphagia, Medscape