Only the latest treatments for swallowing therapy is called Vital Stim. Vital Stim is a neuromuscular electric stimulation modality. Your Speech Therapist, Inc.is a certified national provider of Vital Stim Therapy and encourages this type of therapy to improve the swallowing disorders for people who have strokes, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, etc.
Vital Stim Therapy
What is Vital Stim Therapy?
Vital Stim Therapy is a new medical break through used in the treatment of swallowing disorders. It is an active rehabilitation program, combining the benefits of neuromuscular electrical stimulation and volitional therapeutic programming. This new therapy incorporates a specialized neuromuscular electrical stimulation system and uniquely designed service electrodes to stimulate inactive swallowing musculature commonly found in patients with dysphasia. Using this procedure allows the therapist to implement an active therapy to create or relearn functional muscle use patterns necessary to initiate or re-establish swallowing.
Who is a candidate for this type of therapy?
Whether or not an individual is a candidate for using Vital Stim therapy is dependent upon the results of a swallow video. Before an individual can begin the regime of vital stim therapy, the individual must first have a swallow video completed. The swallow video then is used as a tool to establish correct placement of electrodes on an individual’s throat. The main goal of vital stim therapy is to strengthen weak muscles and to help him in the recovery of motor-control. This procedure is can be used both on pediatrics and adults. Coarse of treatment consists of five sessions per week for two to three weeks at a time and these sessions last approximately 60 minutes each.
How does electrical stim work?
For adults, four electrodes are placed on the front portion of their neck. For children, two electrodes are used due to the size of the muscles in the neck. The electrodes are connected to an FDA approved electrical stimulation device. The therapist then proceeds with swallow treatment which may consist of using compensatory safe swallow strategies such as chin tuck, small sips, small bites, and alternating food and liquids. This can also include progression of swallow progressing from pureed up to regular type food. Average number of treatment sessions per cycle of treatment is 10 to 14 sessions.
What is the process for using Vital Stim to treat dysphagia?
Physician’s referral for a swallow evaluation is required prior to Vital Stim. Swallow evaluation includes:
- Review of patient history.
- Completed functional assessment of swallowing
- A modified barium study performed before starting electrical stimulation is recommended.
- Develop a treatment plan, which may include Vital Stim.
Who can administer Vital Stimulation?
Specialty Certification is required for Speech-Language Pathologists to administer Vital Stim. Your Speech Therapist, Inc. therapists are certified to provide this service to their patients.
How is Vital Stim billed?
Vital stim therapy is billed as normal swallow treatment billed to Medicare or your insurance provider. The cost of the electrodes are billed to the patient.