CareOne Centers Introduce Synchrony™ – A Revolutionary New System For The Treatment Of Dysphagia
Swallowing is a complex process. Some 50 pairs of muscles and many nerves work to move food from the mouth to the stomach in three stages, utilizing the mouth, throat and esophagus. Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, is a medical disorder that impacts as many as 15 million Americans, with approximately one million people annually receiving a new diagnosis of this condition. For those with dysphagia, the throat or esophagus does not work properly due to a variety of causes.
Each year, according to the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR), over 60,000 Americans die from complications associated with swallowing dysfunctions, most commonly aspiration pneumonia. A large proportion of these cases are due to dysphagia arising from a variety of causes, primarily stroke, degenerative neurological diseases, and head and neck cancer.
Dysphagia is especially prevalent among the elderly; for instance, studies suggest that up to 75 percent of long term care residents experience some degree of dysphagia, and that as many as half of all Americans over the age of 60 will experience dysphagia at some point after that age.
Speech Language Pathologists (SLP) at CareOne at Wall, CareOne at Jackson, CareOne at King James, CareOne at East Brunswick, CareOne at Valley, CareOne at Wellington, CareOne at Brookline, CareOne at Peabody Glen, Oradell Health Care Center and Woodcrest Health Care Center now have a revolutionary new tool that they can use to treat patients with dysphagia. Synchrony™ (by ACP) is a comprehensive system combining evidence-based protocols, advanced therapist training, revolutionary new surface EMG (sEMG) biofeedback system and “PENS” e-stim technology.
Unlike any other dysphagia treatments currently available, Synchrony™ enables SLPs, as well as patients themselves, to literally “See the Swallow” using augmented sEMG biofeedback. This important capability helps SLPs evaluate the quality of a swallow to guide therapeutic intervention, and to capture objective measurement data to demonstrate treatment progression and outcomes. The system also features several virtual-reality game-like, interactive activities shown on a monitor, which helps motivate patients for greater exercise duration and intensity.
Synchrony also includes “Patterned Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulation” also known as PENS. When PENS is applied to the appropriate swallowing muscles, the electrical waveform provides treatment for muscle weakness and neuromuscular re-education. PENS helps to improve the neuromuscular control required for normal swallowing function, addresses muscle disuse atrophy often associated with swallowing dysfunction, and provides passive “muscle warm-up” to augment therapeutic exercise.
Synchrony™ Success Story:
CareOne at Brookline successfully incorporated Synchrony™ into the treatment plan for a 65-year-old male patient who became a long term resident of the skilled nursing facility after experiencing a stroke which caused many functional deficits, including slurred speech and difficulty swallowing (dysphagia). This patient is thrilled that he can now eat a regular diet and drink without any modifications. He shared that he truly enjoyed the biofeedback and was motivated by his exercise results, which he requested to review with his therapist at the end of each treatment session.