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September 20, 2018

New Rehabilitation Technology More than a Game for Patients at St. Luke and Michaud


OSWEGO – The goal of the exercise is to make the kangaroo on the screen hop high enough to capture a medallion as it makes its way across the plain.

A new ACP Synchrony biofeedback system used in the Rehabilitation Departments at both St. Luke Health Services in Oswego and Michaud Residential Health Services in Fulton is aiding individuals regain their ability to swallow after suffering a stroke or because of a degenerative illness like Parkinson’s disease. Pictured (left) are Paul McIntyre and Speech Language Pathologist Mallory Donigan (right), as they use the biofeedback system. The system looks and acts like a video game but the patient use sensors attached to their jaw and throat to control the animation and strengthen the muscles used for swallowing.

A new ACP Synchrony biofeedback system used in the Rehabilitation Departments at both St. Luke Health Services in Oswego and Michaud Residential Health Services in Fulton is aiding individuals regain their ability to swallow after suffering a stroke or because of a degenerative illness like Parkinson’s disease. Pictured (left) are Paul McIntyre and Speech Language Pathologist Mallory Donigan (right), as they use the biofeedback system. The system looks and acts like a video game but the patient use sensors attached to their jaw and throat to control the animation and strengthen the muscles used for swallowing.

This may sound like a popular video game but for patients in the Rehabilitation Departments at either St. Luke Health Services in Oswego or Michaud Residential Health Services in Fulton who experience dysphagia, this latest therapy technology is about improving their ability to swallow and be able to enjoy many of the activities we take for granted every day.

“Most people associate our Rehabilitation Program with physical and occupational therapies,” said Rehab Director Laura Lenhart. “But many people experience problems with swallowing particularly as a result of a stroke or if they are suffering from a degenerative illness like Parkinson’s disease, and we can help.”

“We added this new piece of technology to our Rehab Departments both here at St. Luke and at Michaud not only to stay at the forefront of innovative treatments,” observed Lenhart, “But more importantly because this technology has been proven to improve our patient’s outcomes. Plain and simple, it works.”

The ACP Synchrony™ system enables St. Luke and Michaud therapists and patients to literally ‘See the Swallow’ using virtual reality augmented biofeedback. This important capability helps therapists evaluate the specific dynamics of a normal, effortful or Mendelsohn swallow in real time, while guiding a series of therapeutic exercise activities that are engaging and fun for patients.

By using the virtual reality augmented activities available in this new technology, patients are able to improve exercise intensity and duration. Therapists are also able to capture objective measurement data and evaluate treatment progression.

“This new biofeedback system has allowed patients at St. Luke and Michaud to watch their own progression in swallow strength and coordination right on the screen, which is extremely motivating,” said Speech Language Pathologist Mallory Donigan.

Donigan added, “The biofeedback technology has also enabled our patients to learn new, unfamiliar motor tasks and to gain better awareness and control of physiological swallow processes. We have been able to involve our patients in setting attainable and measureable goals and to celebrate their successes as they progress to less and less restrictive diets and to a greater level of swallow safety and improved quality of life.”

For more information about the sub-acute Rehabilitation Programs at either St. Luke Health Services in Oswego or Michaud Residential Health Services in Fulton, visit online at www.stlukehs.com.

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