Looking for therapy for swallowing difficulty

| 14/08/2018

I’m trying to find a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) on Grand Cayman who is able to administer the McNeill Dysphagia Therapy Programme (MDTP). I have dysphagia as a result of radiation therapy 16 years ago to my neck to treat cancer. A side effect is damage to my swallowing mechanism. MDTP looks promising to help restore my swallowing somewhat so that I will not require a feeding tube in the near future.

Contact has been made with Health Services Authority SLP Faith Gealey; however, she is not trained in MDTP. Also, my GP on island does not know of anyone. The alternative would be to spend three weeks in Florida visiting a clinic for one hour daily for treatment. Not a good option for me. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

dysphagiaI’m afraid my short reply is that for now there is not a speech pathologist in Cayman who can help you. I checked with some private facilities and although one — Chatterbox — works with adults with dysphagia, the therapist there is not trained in MDTP. Most also only treat children.

However, it was suggested to me a few times to ask the HSA and Ms Gealey, which I did.

To her credit, based on your question, she looked into getting trained in MDTP so she could administer this to you and others in Cayman suffering with dysphagia.

Unfortunately, she discovered that this training is no longer offered anywhere in the world, but did say that if a programme does come on the market and the HSA is able to manage the cost and logistics, then she will seek the certification.

Ms Gealey also explained what help she can provide to people with dysphagia. The therapy methods available include “traditional exercise-based treatments which involve strengthening the muscles in the lips, cheeks and tongue through oral motor exercises to facilitate a stronger and more effective swallow”, she said.

She is also certified in Vital Stim, an FDA-approved treatment for dysphagia that is designed to help swallowing through neuromuscular stimulation, which aids muscle strengthening “to rehabilitate the swallow”.

Ms Gealey added that the HSA is “the only facility in the Western Caribbean that provides this evidence-based method of dysphagia treatment”.

Anyone who wants to discuss possible therapies with Ms Gealey, can call her at 244-2730.

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Category: Ask Auntie, Health Questions

Comments (4)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It is simply not true to say that no MDTP training is available in the world, because it is available if you know how to look for it. Having said that perhaps the poster might be interested in locating the nearest certified providers: http://procourseceus.com/mcneill-dysphagia-therapy-program/certified-providers-list/

  2. Anonymous says:

    Swallowing is so important.

    • Fil says:


    • Anonymous says:

      Please. This is not funny. My father starved to death due to dysphagia as a complication of cancer and it wasn’t fun to watch or nurse. Back then I wish we had MDTP.