Swallowing is an important part of eating and drinking. A complex mechanism, it involves the coordination of both the skeletal and smooth muscles. Additionally, the autonomic nervous system helps to coordinate the different phases—oral, pharyngeal, and esophageal. If the process fails, food can become stuck in the throat, which can lead to choking. Various conditions can lead to dysphagia or difficulty swallowing.
Our speech-language pathologists will help you manage dysphagia and develop techniques for dealing with your swallowing problems. Treatment options may include swallow therapy or surgical interventions such as the use of botox, dietary modifications or esophageal management of reflux.
There is no need to disrupt your patient or add extra stress to your patient, other allied staff, or remove a patient from the facility to get quality instrumental swallowing evaluations. Licensed, specialty-trained and nationally-certified Speech-Language Pathologists travel to contract medical facilities throughout the state of Oklahoma to administer the endoscopic assessment procedure with the request of a licensed speech pathologist and a physician’s order. Assessment results provide physicians and other care providers with definitive evidence of swallowing impairment, swallowing characteristic defined by an evidenced based nominal rating scale, and its severity. Recommendations are provided for administering hydration, oral feeding and/or feeding rehabilitation for your patient/resident.
Dysphagia is difficulty swallowing — taking more time and effort to move food or liquid from your mouth to your stomach. Dysphagia can be painful. In some cases, swallowing is impossible.
Symptoms Signs and symptoms associated with dysphagia can include:
Treatment might include:
(FEES) Flexible endoscopic swallow studies are designed to look at the function of the swallow and to detect deficiencies in the swallow. Not all swallow studies result in dietary adjustments. Sometimes we find compensatory strategies or small adjustments improve the safety of the swallow.
Mobile Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) is a cutting-edge, secure, and objective method for assessing swallowing function that can be conveniently conducted at the patient's bedside.
During a FEES procedure, a flexible nasopharyngoscope is gently inserted through the patient's nasal passage to access the pharynx and throat, providing an aerial view of these anatomical structures. This enables the healthcare provider to observe the pharyngeal and laryngeal anatomy. Additionally, various food consistencies are introduced to the patient to assess swallow function and safety. When necessary, compensatory strategies and swallowing maneuvers can be tried to improve swallow safety and efficiency.
Mobile Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) offers several distinct advantages. Firstly, FEES is highly portable and can be conveniently conducted on-site, eliminating the need for patient transportation to a hospital or coordination with radiology departments. This means that FEES can be performed right at your patient's bedside or chairside, ensuring their comfort in a familiar environment. This accessibility extends to patients with transportation limitations, including those with tracheostomies, ventilator dependence, and bariatric considerations.
Furthermore, FEES provides a clear and detailed display in high-definition digital color. This level of visual clarity allows healthcare providers to observe pharyngeal secretions and aids in identifying whether the patient is aspirating on their own secretions. Additionally, FEES enables the visualization of the vocal folds and any structural anomalies in the pharynx and larynx, which may contribute to swallowing difficulties.
Lastly, one of the key advantages of FEES is its lack of time constraints. This flexibility allows healthcare providers to account for the potential impact of fatigue on a patient's swallowing function, providing a comprehensive evaluation.
Conducting FEES within your facility offers significant cost savings, approximately one-third of the expense associated with sending a patient to a hospital for a Modified Barium Swallow Study. This financial benefit is achieved primarily by eliminating transportation costs, as the patient remains on-site and can continue with their scheduled billable therapy and medical services.
Furthermore, opting for in-house FEES eliminates the need for a designated nursing assistant or nurse to travel outside of the facility to accompany the patient. Moreover, having an in-house Speech Pathologist present during the procedure enables them to actively participate in critical decision-making processes. The detailed reports and documentation generated from these in-house evaluations can be invaluable in justifying the need for dysphagia therapy and improving health insurance reimbursement for the facility.
Moreover, timely and objective evaluations of swallowing function can facilitate a patient's transition to an upgraded diet, leading to reduced costs associated with providing modified diet textures, thickened liquids, and/or tube feedings. This approach not only benefits the patient's well-being but also contributes to cost-efficiency within the facility.
We provide Speech and Language Therapy and Augmented Swallow Evaluations both in the center as well as online virtually. The therapists handle all aspects of screening, evaluation and treatment of speech, language, cognitive, voice and swallowing disorders.