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Oropharyngeal Dysphagia Telerehabilitation: A Game-Changer for ICU COVID-19 Patients

Oropharyngeal Dysphagia Telerehabilitation: A Game-Changer for ICU COVID-19 Patients

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the landscape of healthcare, including speech-language pathology. One of the most intriguing developments has been the use of telerehabilitation for managing oropharyngeal dysphagia in ICU patients with COVID-19. A recent case report highlights how this innovative approach can be both effective and safe, paving the way for its broader application.

Why Telerehabilitation?

Traditional face-to-face assessments and treatments for dysphagia are considered high-risk due to their potential to generate aerosols, which can transmit the virus. Telerehabilitation offers a contactless alternative, minimizing the risk of infection while still providing essential care.

Case Study Highlights

The case involved a 50-year-old man with severe COVID-19, who required intubation and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) therapy. After his respiratory status stabilized, he was weaned off the ventilator but experienced difficulty swallowing. Using videoconferencing software, a team of rehabilitation professionals conducted a functional assessment of his swallowing abilities remotely. A nurse, fully equipped with protective gear, facilitated the assessment from the patient's room.

Key Findings

Implementing Telerehabilitation in Your Practice

Here are some steps to consider if you're looking to implement telerehabilitation for dysphagia management:

Encouraging Further Research

While the initial findings are promising, more research is needed to validate the efficacy of telerehabilitation for dysphagia management. Larger studies could help confirm these results and explore additional benefits and limitations.

To read the original research paper, please follow this link: Oropharyngeal dysphagia telerehabilitation in the Intensive Care Unit for COVID-19: a case report


Citation: Soyama, S., Mano, T., & Kido, A. (2022). Oropharyngeal dysphagia telerehabilitation in the Intensive Care Unit for COVID-19: a case report. CoDAS, 34(6), e20210023. https://doi.org/10.1590/2317-1782/20212021023

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