April 2020 Newsletter

Happy Spring & Happy Easter!

Monthly Motivator:

April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.—William Shakespeare

Public Health Alert – COVID 19

An MBSS is still a very important evaluation for dysphagia patients to have at this time. It is important to keep their respiratory status as strong and uncompromised as possible, considering the effect of COVID 19 if someone does becomes infected.

Just something to keep in mind when you are deciding between FEES and an MBSS to assess for dysphagia during the COVID crisis. Existing evidence reported by the CDC indicates that the viral density is greatest in the nose and nasopharynx, it is likely that use of instrumentation in and through these areas would lead to increased risk for transmission of COVID-19. Additionally, procedures such as FEES typically involve the application of various sprays, which can aerosolize the pathogens on the mucosa. You can read more about these COVID precautions on the CDC and at ASHA. Make sure you are make the right decision for your patient’s current situation. 

As a physician-based medical practice, DiagnosTEX is proud to stand with you in caring for patients during the COVID 19 outbreak. Timely evaluation of dysphagia is critical in management of dysphagic patients, and we remain committed to providing this essential, medically necessary service.  Although many hospitals are limiting appointments for non-urgent procedures, safe oral intake is never 'elective.' Evaluation of at-risk patients is required to maintain safe PO feeding and decreasing the risk of life-threatening situations (such as aspiration, pneumonia, dehydration and malnutrition). We want you to feel confident in our dedication to the quality, safety, and oversight of infection control during this COVID 19 event. Honestly our mobile clinics are a much safer environment for our patients and for our staff with no more than 4 people on it at a time, versus sending a patient through the ER/hospital.

At DiagnosTEX the safety of our patients and employees is our top priority every day.  While health and safety standards and procedures are followed on a daily basis at DiagnosTEX, we wanted to make you aware of the ongoing and extra precautions we’re taking to ensure everyone stays healthy during this time of heightened concern about Coronavirus (COVID-19).

What we are doing:

  • We are closely monitoring daily updates and recommendations from the CDC.
  • We are sanitizing our medical clinic, cleanings before, during, and after each patient seen.
  • Gloves are being worn by all staff during contact with the patient
  • Every night our end-of-day cleaning team is disinfecting all hand-contact surfaces in patient accessible areas (armrests, door handles, counters, railings, equipment etc.).
  • On that note, we’ve retrained our entire staff in thorough and frequent hand-washing – fronts, backs, wrists, between fingers – with soap and water for at least twenty seconds each time, using hand sanitizers and following all universal precautions as we always do.
  • Employees have also been instructed to notify DiagnosTEX if they are showing symptoms and to not come to work if they experience fever or have come in contact with anyone who has had the Coronavirus. We will promptly contact local health department for any suspicion.
  • Employees are to contact management if they have left the country in the past 14 days.
  • During this time, no other observers, visitors or family members will not be allowed on the clinics, we are allowing single observers only in certain limited circumstances to ensure full patient participation. Please educate you families, staff and CFs/students.

All employees are screened daily at DiagnosTEX including monitoring of their temperature.  As healthcare professionals operating a medical practice (no different than a EMTs/paramedics/ambulance, traveling therapists or RNs, and/or a portable CXR company), a Modified Barium Swallow Study (MBSS) is a medically necessary procedure for identification of dysphagia in and around the concern of this respiratory illness, we do not want to compromise the ability of the patient to receive the medical procedure they require to maintain safe PO feeding.  Withholding this medical procedure increases medical liability risks as well as adverse outcome to a known or unknown diagnosis of dysphagia. We service over 300 facilities in DFW and as a medical practice, and we remain just as diligent and concerned about the safety of our patients as the facilities are. Please be confident in our dedication to the quality, safety and oversight of infection control and prevention of COVID 19.  To assist us with our service, please have the facility staff to meet us at the door with the patient Please contact us if you have any further questions.  Know that when individuals enter DiagnosTEX, everyone’s health and safety are top priorities today and every day.  We are doing our due diligence to keep our patients and staff safe and protected. Our van is a safer environment than your local gas station or grocery store.

Get prepared! It’s getting close…..MAY is Better Speech and Hearing Month – Be prepared next month! This annual event provides opportunities to raise awareness about communication disorders and to promote treatment that can improve the quality of life for those who experience problems with speaking, understanding, or hearing. ASHA has many resources to help you celebrate BHSM every day.  www.asha.org . Some good educational material to share can also be found in the DiagnosTEX Bookstore and the Barium Barista Clinical Cafe at www.dysphagiadiagnostex.com. Check it out!

ABOVE and BEYOND By: Ronda Polansky M.S. CCC-SLP - Patient, Caregiver, and Healthcare Professional Educational Reference Sheets and Handouts for Effective Dysphagia Rehabilitation.  Over 30 handouts on specific disorders in dysphagia in ONE location to use in your practice, plus a resource section for SLP’s on cranial nerve testing, pharyngeal exercises, and treatment techniques. A need to have booklet in your therapy bag!!   Cost: $40.00. (plus S&H). Discounted to $30.00 for MBSH Month. Call us and we will get one out to you!

DVD – What You Can Not See at Bedside- Copies of MBSS studies for education of staff and families on various disorders and clear episodes of penetrations and aspirations. Cost - $40.00 (plus S & H). Discounted to $30.00 for MBSH Month. Great educational tool for anyone!  This is the same videos we presented at TSHA.

An SLP Should NEVER Lose Their Voice - Advocate for Proper Dysphagia Evaluations - Material to assist in educating Physicians, Administrators, Nurses and other Medical Professionals on Dysphagia and Modified Barium Swallow Studies.

If you are at working at home more these days, get caught up on your CEs with

Ampcare’s online course at www.ampcarellc.com/training.

Wishing everyone ongoing health and safety as we all struggle through a new norm and as we navigate the difficulties brought with the spread of COVID 19. We appreciate your patient and understanding as we all work through this unprecedented challenge.  We thank all of you for your continued commitment to the community, our service, and continuing to being available to those who need it in hopes to reduce the need for further hospitalizations due to dysphagia for an already overwhelmed health system.

Let’s keep everything in perspective and understand what is important. There is a human - kind aspect to this and we all need to do the right thing and help each other out.  It is not all about you, it is all about all of us. Our hearts go out to all those who have been affected in one way or another.  Together we will all get through this.

DiagnosTEX owners and staff