For people recovering from an acquired or traumatic brain injury, swallowing rehabilitation can be especially challenging because they may experience a period of post-traumatic amnesia. This can limit their ability to form new memories, making it difficult to learn the swallowing exercises that may help them eat again.
For Michele Fyfe and her care team at the Acquired Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program at St. Joseph’s Health Care, they needed something that could help Michele with the oral exercises intended to help her learn to safely swallow. Michele acquired dysphagia (swallowing difficulty) after a serious heart attack and stroke deprived her brain of oxygen and resulted in an anoxic brain injury. With the support of her Speech Language Pathologist care team, Abilex™ oral motor exerciser was successfully used as part of her therapy treatment to get her swallowing again.
Abilex™ device was designed to safely stimulate parts of the mouth to help build oral awareness and get the tongue moving and exercising again. At the beginning of therapy, patients with cognitive impairments can begin engaging and manipulating the device without needing to perform specific exercises. Tactile feedback provides encouragement while the simulation of food enables the safe practice of swallow skills without introducing a choking or aspiration risk. As tongue control recovers, sets of SLP developed exercises can be performed to help build strength and promote coordination of the tongue and lips – important for swallow recovery.
To learn more about Michele and swallowing with a brain injury please visit the South West Health Line site.
[Source: www.southwesthealthline.ca 07-Mar-2018]