Swallowing Assistance

Swallowing Assistance Services Provided By HRS

Swallowing Assistance

Assistance With Swallowing

Services Description

What are swallowing disorders?
Swallowing disorders, also called dysphagia, can occur at different stages in the swallowing process:

  • Oral phase – sucking, chewing, and moving food or liquid into the throat
  • Pharyngeal phase – starting the swallowing reflex, squeezing food down the throat, and closing off the airway to prevent food or liquid from entering the airway (aspiration) or to prevent choking
  • Esophageal phase – relaxing and tightening the openings at the top and bottom of the feeding tube in the throat (esophagus) and squeezing food through the esophagus into the stomach

What are some signs or symptoms of swallowing disorders?
Several diseases, conditions, or surgical interventions can result in swallowing problems.
General signs may include:

  • Coughing during or right after eating or drinking
  • Wet or gurgly sounding voice during or after eating or drinking
  • Extra effort or time needed to chew or swallow
  • Food or liquid leaking from the mouth or getting stuck in the mouth
  • Recurring pneumonia or chest congestion after eating
  • Weight loss or dehydration from not being able to eat enough

As a result, adults may have:

  • Poor nutrition or dehydration
  • Risk of aspiration (food or liquid entering the airway), which can lead to pneumonia and chronic lung disease
  • Less enjoyment of eating or drinking
  • Embarrassment or isolation in social situations involving eating


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