Cerebral palsy comes with all sorts of potential issues, including trouble swallowing, which is known medically as dysphagia. Dealing with dysphagia is a lot easier for your family member if she has the help of home care providers who know what to do.
Symptoms of Dysphagia
Dysphagia can appear in a variety of symptoms. Your family member might cough while she’s eating or right afterward. This is a sign that her body is having trouble swallowing. Food or beverages might also seem to get stuck in her mouth. She might avoid eating or drinking, which can lead to weight loss or even dehydration. Dysphagia is embarrassing for many people with CP, so it can be helpful to have home care providers available who know how to help her cope.
Check Food Fluidity and Consistency
For some people with cerebral palsy, food and beverages can be the wrong consistency. Thickening or thinning foods and beverages can help to make them easier for her to swallow. Home care providers can double check that the consistency is correct for your family member, which makes eating and drinking so much easier for her.
Take Plenty of Time for Meals
Meal timing can make a big difference, too. If your family member feels rushed too often, she might try to rush herself through eating and drinking. Being in a hurry can cause her throat and mouth muscles to have even more difficulty working to help her swallow. When your family member has plenty of time to eat, she’s able to do so in a much more relaxed environment and that helps immensely.
Use Tips from Her Doctor or Therapist
Your family member’s doctor or physical therapist can offer some helpful tips that can make dysphagia less of an issue for her. Some of those tips might involve adjusting placement of her chin or trying specific exercises that can help improve coordination when it comes to swallowing. Home care providers who help people with cerebral palsy are usually familiar with these types of tips and they can help to prompt your family member so that she’s able to use these tips to her best advantage.
Home care for cerebral palsy is an integral part of helping your family member manage dysphagia and other complications from CP. They can spot potential problems before they interfere with your family member’s comfort and ability to enjoy her life to the fullest extent possible.
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As a practicing Registered Nurse, Etelka was keenly aware of a void in quality patient care that could be provided in the home. She embarked upon a journey to develop a home health care agency that would exceed all expectations and become a trusted partner to physicians and patients.
A Distinguished Career From Nurse to Director of Nursing to President of Home Services Unlimited
Etelka’s distinguished career followed a logical progression to her position as President of Home Services Unlimited. She graduated as a nurse practitioner with a Bachelor of Nursing (RN) in 1972 from Meshgorya University in the Ukraine, close to where she lived with her family. She married her husband Phil in 1973 and decided in 1977 that they would relocate to the United States to be closer to family and to come to this land of opportunity. With an eagerness to continue her budding career, Etelka sat for and passed her Boards in the U.S. in 1979.
A Love and Talent for Working with the Elderly
Etelka began her nursing career in the U.S. at Colonial Crest, now part of Golden Living, where shewasthe In-service Coordinator, the Director of Training and Education and Director of Nursing, a position she occupied for several years.
With a group of partners, she co-founded Adept Corporation, which operated group homes for the mentally challenged. The business was successful and in 1996, Etelka sold her share to return to her roots, caring for the elderly.
In January of 1997, Etelka opened Home Services Unlimited as a fully licensed business to provide home health care. In her quest to learn to do better for her patients, she had already obtained a Masters in Healthcare Administration (MHA) in May of 1990 from the College of St. Francis. As President of Home Services Unlimited, Inc., Etelka guides the trusted, experienced care model Home Services Unlimited uses to continue providing excellent home health care.
Giving Back to the Community of Indianapolis
Volunteering for community services is a high priority for Etelka. Her memberships include the Indiana Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, Executive Women in Health Care and the Indiana Association for Home and Hospice Care, where she is a member of the Board of Directors.
Etelka has also served on the Board of Directors with Hooverwood Home, a highly regarded geriatric facility, since 1997 and as the President for 2005-2006. Through her community work, she has received several awards and accolades, including the Nora McFarland award in 2002, from the Indiana Association of Home and Hospice Care.
Etelka was honored as a “Health Care Hero” by the Indianapolis Business Journal. The issue can be read online here:
After clicking on the link, then click on the image of the issue’s front page. After that, you can browse through the issue or click in a box near the top of your internet browser to adjust the page to 17, which is where Etelka’s article appears.
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