The need for dysphagia treatment procedures has more than quadrupled since 2008 at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center [VAMC]. Just six years ago, Cincinnati VAMC speech pathologists conducted 1,029 dysphagia assessment and treatment procedures. Last year, 4,598 procedures occurred at their facility. Recently, speech pathologists at the Cincinnati VAMC took the necessary steps to meet this demand by introducing Swallow Solutions devices into their facility.
In the past several months, speech pathologists at the Cincinnati VAMC have secured funding for 12 Madison Oral Strengthening Therapeutic (MOST®) devices. At this point, more than 20 patients at the facility have worked with the MOST® device and seen positive results. Kathy Groves Wright Ph.D. CCC-SLP, speech-language pathologist at the Cincinnati VAMC, said patients are more motivated to adhere to their therapy program because the device is so easy to use.
“The interface is very user-friendly, even for people who are not very familiar with use of a computer,” Groves-Wright said. “The fact that the mouthpiece is custom fitted in just minutes, and does not easily dislodge during use helps to ensure ease and accuracy of placement, so that objective results obtained are reliable.”
The Cincinnati VAMC was able to secure funds for the Swallow Solutions product through the medical center’s Prosthetics Service. Groves-Wright noted that Swallow Solutions devices are considered therapeutic tools that can facilitate improvement of an impaired function and are therefore approved for funding in the same way as an Augmentative Communication device or wheelchair.
The Cincinnati VAMC hopes to expand the program and implement devices in both their Community Living Center and Home Based Primary Care Program. “Nicole Rusche and the other members of the SwallowStrong team in Madison have been extremely helpful in supporting us here in Cincinnati as we work to develop our Program,” said Groves-Wright. “They shared with us in a generous and timely manner their model for setup, operation, and outcomes data tracking for the SwallowStrong clinic in Madison, and we are working to adopt many of their methods here in Cincinnati.”