Swallowing Disorders/ Dysphagia
The Speech Group's treatment for swallowing disorders involves an initial assessment at the patient's home, in hospital or our clinic.
We will work with patients, their family and carers to provide fast assessment, and high quality advice and treatment.
Swallowing abilities will be assessed using informal methods. Information from formal assessments such as Videofluroscopy and Fibreoptic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) will also be part of this assessment when applicable. Excellent access to such instrumental assessments, fibre endoscopic evaluations and ENT colleagues is part of our service.
The Speech Group has a specific interest in airway protection and therapy to assist with vocal fold closure and compensatory swallowing techniques.
Strategies and exercises to improve the oral and pharyngeal phases of the volitional swallow will be used if appropriate.
We aim to avoid fluid and food modification where possible, but sometimes this can be unavoidable.
VITAL STIM THERAPY
For adults, we may be able to use Vital Stim therapy — a neuromuscular electrical stimulation treatment.
The Speech Group has certification of use of Vital Stim for neurogenic dysphagia.
This technique is used in the treatment of dysphagia for both adults and children, however, in the UK at the present time, NICE guidelines prevent the use of Vital Stim with children.
The NICE guidelines outline the need for an audit as part of the clinical governance into the use of Vital Stim. The Speech Group is participating in an audit with a group of seven Speech and Language Therapists across the UK. It is hoped that this information can inform future NICE guidelines, which will be reviewed with a view to extending the scope of Vital Stim use.
For more information, please contact us directly.