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Physicians Services Program by VNS Westchester.

Dysphagia Care

Our team approach aids dysphagia rehabilitation

It is estimated that up to 10 million Americans have some degree of difficulty or discomfort with chewing or swallowing. Many disorders can cause dysphagia, including stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, ALS, head or spinal trauma, Alzheimer’s disease, oral cancer and reflux disorders.

VNS Westchester provides a comprehensive program for dysphagia patients using a multi-disciplinary approach.  An integral component of the program involves giving guidance to all staff providing related services to patients, including nurses, therapists, medical social workers and home health aides.  Education and training for patients, family members and other caregivers is also critical for optimal outcomes.

Often there are speech problems associated with swallowing difficulty, and the program also includes speech pathology rehabilitation services. This involves helping patients to coordinate their speech and swallowing, to do breathing exercises, and generally increase their endurance.

Program objectives:

  • Improve swallow strength
  • Reduce risk of aspiration
  • Assure adequate nutrition/hydration
  • Educate patients and caregivers to provide a safe and structured home environment
  • Improve quality of life for patients with swallowing disorders


  • Evaluate swallowing ability
  • Recommend correct diet consistencies and liquid thickness
  • Instruct on safety and compensatory positions to improve swallowing
  • Provide information on nutrition and hydration
  • Progress patient in changing consistency of food
  • Monitor safety with home feeding/drinking
  • As needed, utilize nursing, therapies, and home health aide services to improve quality of life
  • Make additional medical evaluations and referrals when necessary (i.e., Modified Barium Swallow and Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing)

For more information on our Dysphagia Rehabilitation Home Care, call 914-682-1480.