Dysphagia, or the inability to functionally ingest food and/or liquid to maintain good health, is based on the five systems that are required to swallow effectively: respiratory, muscular, gastrointestinal, neurological and cognitive. A breakdown in any of those systems results in complications such as dehydration, malnutrition, respiratory complications, choking, or more subtle symptoms such as fatigue and cognitive confusion.
In the past, dysphagia was diagnosed with a standard bedside evaluation, and either an MBS or FEES. Unfortunately, the standardization of these evaluations does not allow for the individual subtle peculiarities that the patient’s diagnostic profile may be presenting in any of these individual systems. Recommendations based on standardized protocols and therapeutic generalizations may result in misidentification of dysphagia function and abilities, resulting in repeat episodes of dysphagia complications and repeat hospitalizations from these changes in condition.
The Dysphagia Management Systems protocol elevates the process to new levels, facilitating the Dysphagia Management SLP Specialist to customize the diagnostic profile. This is completed utilizing the following parameters: Acute diagnosis, co-morbities, care setting, caregiver complement, discharge plan, and primary dysphagia system affected. The mission of Dysphagia Management Systems is to effectively identify the risks, manage the functionality, and recommend the safest stabilization and rehabilitative techniques for positive patient outcomes. Utilizing a specialized clinical bedside evaluation, modified FEES procedure, and/or individualized therapy modalities, the dysphagia management protocol is completed onsite at the patient’s residence or facility. As a research-based protocol, Dysphagia Management Systems incorporates the entire Care Team into the process, with the Dysphagia Management Systems’ SLP Specialists training the facility staff to be prepared for the most efficient identification of dysphagia, from admissions through discharge. Patient outcomes utilizing this approach have been shown to increase, while repeat hospitalizations and repeat medical complications have been shown to decrease with this continuum of care.