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HomeCare Services Offering Therapy for Patients with Difficulty Swallowing

OLBH's HomeCare Services is offering a new therapy in the home for those who have difficulty swallowing.

Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, affects more than 15 million Americans with an additional one million diagnosed annually. OLBH’s HomeCare Services now offers patients with difficulty swallowing relief through its new, non-invasive, VitalStim therapy. VitalStim therapy uses a small current delivered to the patient through electrodes placed on the neck. The electricity stimulates inactive or atrophied swallowing muscles. OLBH’s HomeCare Services staff utilizes the therapy to re-educate the muscles. The therapy helps correct dysphagia in its early stages, preventing its progression and for those patients who already utilize a feeding tube, this therapy enables many to return to normal or partially-normal eating.

One in 17 people will develop some form of dysphagia in their lifetime. In instances where someone has suffered a stroke, 50 to 75 percent develop dysphagia and 60 to 70 percent of those who undergo radiation therapy develop the disorder. The disorder’s prevalence in neurological diseases such as Parkison’s or ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) run as high as 90 percent. Particularly prevalent in elderly patients, dysphagia can lead to aspiration pneumonia, choking, chronic malnutrition, life-threatening dehydration, an increased rate of infection, longer hospital stays or long-term institutional care.

VitalStim therapy is typically administered for one hour three to five days a week for one month. The therapy has proven effective independent of the cause of a patient’s dysphagia or other health problems. Therapy is performed by HomeCare Services’ speech therapist, Amanda Brown, MA, CCC-SLP.

OLBH HomeCare Services is a Medicare-certified home health agency with offices in Kentucky and Ohio. OLBH HomeCare Services offers specially trained professionals to manage nursing care, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, medical social work assistance, personal care assistance, home making services and pediatric rehabilitation.

HomeCare Services accepts Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance. For more information about OLBH HomeCare Services call the Greenup office at (606) 473-9895 or the Ironton office at (740) 533-9010.

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