Gusta Brittijn works as a speech therapist at Meriant Heerenveen (The Netherlands) with the SilverFit Rephagia. Gusta is also an aphasia therapist.
“We have four speech therapists, three of whom are registered with ParkinsonNet. With the SilverFit Rephagia we all regularly treat COPD patients, patients with dysphagia caused by sarcopenia, patients after a stroke, patients with congenital brain injury and patients on (geriatric) rehabilitation. We use the SilverFit Rephagia in both inpatient and outpatient treatment.”
With which swallowing problems do you use the SilverFit Rephagia?
“I can use the SilverFit Rephagia for many of my patients with dysphagia caused by sarcopenia. Additionally, I use it almost as a standard for patients after a stroke. For COPD patients it will be occasional, and in this case, we use it to see if the swallowing problems are caused by breath/swallow coordination issues. I also use it just to train the swallowing function in the event of weakening. "
“For dysphagia caused by sarcopenia, we mainly use the Powerful Swallow exercise. If necessary, we then use the Mendelsohn Maneuver for stroke patients."
What do you think are the benefits of working with the SilverFit Rephagia for your patients?
“I really enjoy making visual exercises. It ensures that patients gain insight into what they are doing with swallowing much faster. They can influence it more easily through visual feedback. In addition, my patients are much more motivated to exercise. I am able to better provoke swallowing movements during my treatment than I could without the SilverFit Rephagia. ”
“In general, people are very enthusiastic about the games (e.g: the Kangaroo). From time to time I have a patient who has a greater preference for the graphical representation. But either way, I only get a positive response to the SilverFit Rephagia exercises.”
What do you think are the benefits of working with the SilverFit Rephagia for yourself?
“As a therapist, I see a lot of benefits that the patient may notice less. Because the patients are more motivated it is easier for them to practice, but it is also easier for me to support my patients in their therapy. Previously, after ten swallows, some patients indicated that they could not take more, so we had to motivate these people in some way and it was sometimes difficult. Now, because of the system, that is actually no longer an issue. People just train. People experience this as very motivating and perform the exercise very well. The scores at the end of each exercise help as well. They like to see their results and progress. Some ask "How did I do the last time and how much do I score now?"
Do you feel that social interaction between your patient and yourself increase when you train with SilverFit Rephagia?
“The SilverFit Rephagia certainly influences the interaction, it is easier to give people feedback. Because it is visual it is easier to say; “See! That's what you do, now you swallow a little more forcefully. Can you now think of what you are doing differently from the previous swallow? ” Those are tools you didn't have when you weren't using biofeedback. This means that you can have a more substantive conversation with the patient. And thereby increase the patient's self-awareness. "What do I do differently when I swallow?" There is more interaction about that than when you just ask someone; "Try to swallow as strongly as possible."
Would you recommend the SilverFit Rephagia to other professionals in your field? Why / why not?
“We have already done that! We let the colleagues in the hospital have a look and they have now also decided to purchase! ”
“I believe that the pleasure and simplicity with which fairly complex tasks are made transparent is great. I think it is such a great tool to be able to train patients in a very targeted way very quickly. There are so many people who don't know what they are doing and as soon as you connect them to the SilverFit Rephagia, they suddenly understand what happens when you talk about terms such as "lift and lower" (a game of the Rephagia is about people going up and down on a lift). You can immediately start treating the first session, that was not the case before! "