Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Dysphagia Therapy And Thermogustatory Stimulation

Lemon Ice:
Before, During and After

Not too long ago, I was hunting for a recipe for lemon ice when I ran upon this video created by my friends at Rehab Synergies. It's awesome!

I love it because it not only gives step by step instructions for  making lemon ice, it reviews the rationale for its use and the methods for its administration.  It's a great educational video to share with patients, caregivers and family members. Have a look...

In the video, you saw this adorable SLP suggest administering lemon ice prior to a meal or in alternation with other tastes, textures and temperatures.  Recently, I decided to try something a little different...I administered lemon ice before, during and after a therapeutic meal. 

  • Lemon ice before the meal primes the pump and readies the patient for swallowing and eating. It assists with the clearing of secretions before eating.
  • Lemon ice during the meal slows the rate of intake,  allows a break from chewing and promotes clearing of particles. 
  • Lemon ice after the meal allows provides a final opportunity for clearing the mouth, pharynx and larynx of doubles as dessert, too!
The results were great: the patient loved the novelty of it, the wife felt like I was "doing something" to treat the dysphagia and I was happy because, all along the way, my patient was clearing the boluses and there were no gurgly residuals to worry about.

Win! Win! Win!

As happy as I was to reunite with lemon ice, I wasn't actually using a homemade lemon ice recipe. First of all, ain't nobody got time for that, and more importantly, ain't nobody got a freezer in their car (I'm a home health therapist, you know). 

Instead, I stopped by the grocery store on the way to the patient's home and picked up a container of Minute Maid Frozen LemonadeThis version of lemon ice seemed to work perfectly. It has a smooth, creamy texture, an icy cold temperature and an intensely sour flavor. It's also available in a variety of other creamy, cold, sour flavors. How neat!

Whether you choose old school, DIY lemon ice, or 5 for $5.00 soft frozen lemonade, consider incorporating thermogustatory stimulation in your next dysphagia session. I think you will be happy with the results all the way around.

When fate hands you a lemon, make lemonade.
Dale Carnegie