Raising Awareness for National Dysphagia Awareness Month

June is Nationa Dysphagia Awareness Month so I made this “shout-out” to Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb so they can help us raise awareness. I hope this helps you and other who struggle with dysphagia and swallowing disorders. Enjoy!


Tips for Thickening Nutritional Supplements

If you are on thickened liquids, how can you safely drink pre-made nutritional shakes like Boost and Ensure? This video will help answer your questions.


“How to Puree Just About Everything” – A How-To Video

Though I haven’t posted recently, I have been busy.

I am in the process of filming cooking lessons on the techniques neccessary to puree almost every food. There will be five lessons in all.

The cooking lessons will be on a DVD that will be included in the purchase of my care manual “Making Every Bite Count”. Because this information is essential to living on a puree diet, I hope to make all the full length videos available to view online for a small fee.

Through these cooking lessons, I will show you how to modify the foods you love so you can still eat them if you are on a puree diet.

First up: Meat

Pureeing meat can be a real challenge! Cooked meats can be hard to puree because meat protein form tight bundles that need can be difficult to chew, let alone puree. When pureeing meat, keep in mind that:

  1. you need to start-out with cooked meat
  2. meats that are easier to chew will also be easier to puree
  3. you’ll need broth or other cooking liquid
  4. you’ll need an instant food thickener to bind the puree into a cohesive mass for safe swallowing
  5. purees don’t have to be soupy
  6. purees can taste great!

This video is just a snap-shot of the full video, so take a look and get some ideas!

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What to Expect from a Swallow Consultation

By: Kayla Suarez, MS, SLP-C

When swallowing issues are first noticed at home, the primary care doctor is the generally a patient’s first point of contact. When discussing a swallow problem with the doctor, it is helpful to have the following information prepared, so that you can provide the most powerful description of what is happening during mealtimes. A consult may be placed to a swallowing specialist, such as a speech-language pathologist or an occupational therapist.

During a swallow evaluation, a specialist will ask questions regarding the swallow dysfunction and conduct a brief meal trial to observe the problem in the clinic.  If ordered by a doctor (often at the suggestion of the swallow specialist) an assessment called a Video Swallow Study sometimes called a Modified Barium Swallow may be performed. This involves taking food or liquid mixed with barium, a radio contrast, under fluoroscopy, or a video x-ray machine. This is a non-invasive procedure and usually takes 45 minutes or less.

This assessment is the gold standard of swallowing evaluations because it provides the most information. From this x-ray video, a trained specialist can identify the disruptions in the swallow pattern that are involved in the dysphagia. During this assessment, clinicians can observe to see if any swallow maneuvers are beneficial. It also gives the clinician information to determine what type of swallow exercises would be suited for the patient’s individual dysphagia.

After the assessment has been completed the swallowing specialist will give their impressions of the swallow function to the patient and a copy of the report to the primary doctor. Recommendations regarding the texture, position, and rehabilitative exercises may be offered. Exercises are suggested to help recover or maintain swallowing abilities, not unlike recommendations from a physical therapist. It is important to clarify any questions regarding the exercises or diet modifications with your healthcare provider. The ultimate goal is eating safely and preserving swallow function while keeping mealtime enjoyable.

Kayla Suarez received her MS in Speech-Language Pathology from Mass General Hospital Institute of Health Professions. She has a deep interest in dysphagia and food. You can contact Kayla at kaysuarez@gmail.com or visit her website at dysdine.com.

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