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    Swallowing help

    What can family members do to help our sister learn to swallow again, she was treated for aspiration/pneumonia and now her speech worse and she can't swallow. A little background, she had a stroke 15 years ago (she is now 57) then a second stroke 7 years ago and lost feeling in her left side, rallying she fought back and was walking and driving with a brace on left leg and a very little feeling back in her left arm. Recently she was admitted to the hospital for breathing concerns and trouble eating. Hence the pneumonia now gone but she is in rehab to help get her back to at least where she was. We really want to help her with the speech an swallowing but we are at a loss as to what we can do to help. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    #2
    Originally posted by patsysue View Post
    What can family members do to help our sister learn to swallow again, she was treated for aspiration/pneumonia and now her speech worse and she can't swallow. A little background, she had a stroke 15 years ago (she is now 57) then a second stroke 7 years ago and lost feeling in her left side, rallying she fought back and was walking and driving with a brace on left leg and a very little feeling back in her left arm. Recently she was admitted to the hospital for breathing concerns and trouble eating. Hence the pneumonia now gone but she is in rehab to help get her back to at least where she was. We really want to help her with the speech an swallowing but we are at a loss as to what we can do to help. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Does she have access to a speech therapist? Just asking because after my dad had a stroke he basically had to learn to swallow and eat all over again and a speech therapist was the person he worked most closely with about that.
    Last edited by orangejello; 8 Apr 2011, 9:10 PM.

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      #3
      She needs the services of a speech pathologist. While Ryan was much younger (17) when he went 5 months without eating or drinking, his speech pathologist got him to where he is today. He went from level 1 (applesauce, yogurt) on Monday-after 5 months or work-to eating a Jimmy John's sub on Friday.

      His speech pathologist used a variety of tools but I think the one that helped the most, and he hated the most, was a special e-stim on his throat muscles. There are not too may that are qualified to do this but as much as he hated the treatments, they did seem to work.

      He mow eats whatever he wants to and can drink anything except plain water. There is a name for the condition that means that he required taste but he has done a wonderful job of protecting his airway, with no gag reflex, that he is at little to no risk.

      A less experienced speech pathologist or any speech therapist would never have given him the all clear to eat and drink. I doubt that he could pass a swallow test to this day and it has been more than 18 months since he started ea--eakting and drinking.
      Elizabeth A. Kephart, PHR
      mom/caregiver to Ryan-age 21
      Incomplete C-2 with TBI since 3/09

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        #4
        David too had to see a speech therapist, they did such exercises as lip movements to saying the alphabet, plus many more, got him from level 1 to normal again after several months.

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