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Swallowing Difficulties
July 17, 2008

Speech pathology department at Clay County Medical Center provides evaluation and treatment of swallowing difficulties and speech language disorders.  When someone experiences difficulty swallowing, I would encourage a visit with his or her physician about the possibility of a referral for a swallowing evaluation.  Swallowing difficulties may emerge from the general aging process.  It may also be present in specific illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury, oral cancer, dementia and stroke.

Testing may include a modified barium swallow conducted through the Radiology and Speech departments at Clay County Medical Center.  During this procedure, the patient will be asked to swallow foods and liquids of varying consistencies.  This test is done under fluoroscopy in the radiology suite.  The patient is able to view the videotape of the actual swallowing after the test.  This procedure is non-invasive and very short in duration.  The swallowing evaluation is used to develop a treatment plan to improve the swallow function for daily nutrition and hydration.  Treatment may include tongue strengthening exercises, suggestions for making swallowing easier and/or the use of VitalStim therapy.  For more information on VitalStim therapy, please go to


While swallowing difficulties may also be present when someone has experienced a stroke, there may be other speech/language issues as well.  To learn more about stroke, please visit the website at:  Besides treatment offered through the Speech Pathology Department, many find encouragement by attending the monthly Stroke Support Group.  Stroke survivors, their families and other interested people are welcome to attend. The group meets the third Wednesday of each month at 10:00 a.m. in the Education Center at Clay County Medical Center.  There is no charge for this service. 

If you have any questions concerning your speech, swallowing or the support group, please give me a call. 

Brenda Bohnenblust, MA CCC-SLP
Speech/Language Pathologist