Patient success story: Mr. Barker, catastrophic stroke patient.

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Kacee Ward, SLP, Mr. Barker, and Jaime Garrett, OTR

Mr. Barker suffered a catastrophic stroke in February 2015. He received inpatient therapy and was then transferred to Ocean Springs Health and Rehabilitation Nursing Home for long-term care. After discharge, he received therapy in the home environment before beginning PT, OT, and speech at the local VA. A swallow study was conducted which indicated that Mr. Barker was aspirating on foods and liquids so it was decided that he would rely solely on the feeding tube that had been placed in the hospital for all of his nutritional needs, meaning that he could not eat or drink anything by mouth. He was wheelchair bound, required assistance for most of his self-care and had significant coordination and visual deficits. On 10/05/15, Mr. Barker was evaluated by speech therapy at the Neuroscience Center. Following evaluation, it was decided that the main goals of therapy would be to increase intelligibility when speaking and upgrade the patient’s diet from a feeding tube to foods and liquids that he could tolerate safely. Shortly after, patient also began occupational and physical therapy at the Neuroscience Center where he began training using a walker, learning techniques to compensate for visual deficits, balance training, strengthening and coordination training.

After several months of swallowing exercises in conjunction with neuromuscular electrical stimulation, Mr. Barker had a repeat swallow study. The speech therapist who conducted the study found that Mr. Barker was safe to start out on a mechanical soft diet with nectar-thickened liquids. We could finally start trials of foods and drinks in therapy! His feeding tube was removed on June 29th after he had maintained a healthy weight over the course of one month. As of August 2016, Mr. Barker is able to go out and enjoy meals at his favorite restaurants and at home. He is able to walk using a walker, can complete nearly all self-care with independence and even participates in light household tasks.

On a scale of 1-10, Mr. Barker rated his overall recovery at the beginning of therapy at this clinic at a 2, and now he feels that he is at a 9/10, “only because there is always room for improvement.”

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