Swallow Management Center
The Swallow Management Center at Baptist Medical Group-Outpatient Care Center now uses a multidisciplinary approach to treating patients diagnosed with dysphasia. Combining both traditional therapy and new technology, our speech therapists work together with physical therapists and registered dietitians to help patients achieve the following benefits:
- Reduction or elimination of swallowing difficulties
- Reduced risk of side effects
- Improved nutritional status, including weight gain
- Improved quality of life
What is dysphasia?
Dysphasia is defined as difficulty in swallowing. Patients with dysphagia usually exhibit signs of food or liquid getting into their lungs, muscle weakness, and difficulty maintaining a normal diet. This often leads to feeding restrictions, which contributes to a decline in the patient's quality of life.
Who is a good candidate for the Swallow Management Center?
Typical patients include, but are not limited to, head/neck cancer patients, stroke victims, or those with neuromuscular diseases.
However, you may be a candidate for dysphagia therapy if you suffer from any of the following signs and symptoms:
- Coughing or clearing throat after swallowing
- Abnormal cough
- Weak, hoarse, or wet voice
- Recurring chest infections
- Special effort required to clear throat
- Difficulty completing meals
- Feeling like food is stuck in your throat
- Requiring a modified diet (pureed food; soft solids)
- Difficulty initiating a swallow
- Spilling food or liquid from lips; drooling
Who provides this swallow therapy?
Your physician must write a prescription for you to receive swallow therapy. A clinical evaluation is then performed at the Swallow Management Center by a dysphagia therapist — usually a speech language pathologist — to determine if you are a good candidate.
New Treatment Options
In the last few years, breakthrough technology has allowed speech and physical therapists to enhance their treatment of dysphagia.
The Swallow Management Center offers both VitalStim® therapy and the Experia clinical device. Both use gentle electrical stimulation to the neck in order to recruit the patient’s swallowing muscles. Patients show increased swallowing ability for more sustained periods.