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  • Charlene Ayala, M.S., CCC-SLP

    The course [Comprehensive Dementia online] provided me with new information that I will definitely utilize in the workplace. I now feel much better equipped to address this special population. Well worth the time, stress and effort! Submitted: 07/11/2013
  • Susan Brouse, M.S., CCC-SLP

    I am a speech therapist in Sandusky Ohio. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet the speech team last weekend for a seminar in Mansfield OH for DPNS and E-Stim. I have to say that aside from the tools and techniques I learned the overall information presented was INVALUABLE. After attending this course with the team I believe that every therapist practicing in the area of dysphagia should take this course...truly. This course looks at function and helps us come up with a plan of care that will truly be most advantageous for our patients. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED. I am serious when I say that I truly believe everyone should take this course! :) Submitted: 05/13/2013
  • Meredith Davis, M.S., CCC-SLP

    Dear Karlene and The Speech Team, Thanks for the opportunity to share my experience with you and your team. Our time in Omaha was well worth it! We’ve incorporated your DPNS and FMEP evaluation and treatment procedures into our practice within our outpatient clinic. Here are some thoughts about your course: “Upon graduating with a master’s degree, I felt ill-equipped for the demands of the clinical world I was entering (i.e., within my first year I worked in outpatient, inpatient, skilled nursing facilities, assisted-living, and independent living). I worked hard for that degree but I am not sure what I accomplished other than receiving a paper certificate stating I should know what I am doing! Looking back over the first two years of my career, my documentation didn’t stand a chance in a review process because I based medical necessity solely on symptoms of dysphagia. Needless to say, many of my patients who demonstrated medical necessity due to overt symptoms were flat out denied any further coverage based on my documentation or lack thereof. I had to change something to help my patients get the skilled therapy they so desperately needed! Thus, I sought out to further my skills. I am thankful for training available at continuing education courses like DPNS. I had always struggled with understanding and utilizing neurology in best practice. I knew it was vital to document during evaluation and treatment but I had no understanding of how to tie symptoms to etiology. After attending the DPNS course, I can view a swallow study or complete a bedside swallow evaluation with confidence that I know which reflexes, musculature, and cranial nerves are in deficit or intact. I can rely on my own KNOWLEDGE of swallow function to write goals pertaining to a neurological basis. DPNS has made my documentation sound and evident regarding causes of a patient’s dysphagia symptoms. I know what deficits my patient has based on their performance at initial evaluation allowing me to compare progress throughout the entire duration of therapy until discharge is appropriate. DPNS has changed my entire outlook on dysphagia therapy. I no longer rely on symptoms to justify the necessity of my plan of care. I no longer describe progress or lack of progress based on symptoms. I no longer feel helpless against the medical review and audit process. I have a strong case documented with neurological function causing severity of symptoms. I highly recommend this course to my fellow speech language pathologists who want to ensure strong patient care and best practice.” Thanks again for being available on your website, email, and phone! I never expected a call from you but it means so much that you are accessible (even to us out in the sticks in good ol’ Nebraska!) to answer questions as we make some changes to our program. We’ll keep in touch and let you know how things progress. It’s a scary but exciting time and we are determined to weather the storm. Thanks again and take care! Submitted: 04/09/2013
  • Cheryl Steele, M.A. CCC-SLP

    I already completed the dementia training and have stayed current. It has been wonderfully successful. I have nothing but praise for the DPNS as well. I cannot tell you what wonderful results this had for my patients. I used it a great deal and am looking forward to being refreshed with the new information. Submitted: 04/04/2013
  • Susan Palmer, M.S., CCC-SLP, Manager, Speech Pathology and Audiology, MedCentral

    My first experience with DPNS training was at a seminar in January of 2000, at which time the training was actually a 2 part process. I am a licensed, certified Speech-Language Pathologist and have been in practice for 36 years. Over the course of my career I have learned the importance of education, its application to patient outcomes, both evidence based practice as well as practice based evidence. I was intrigued by the enthusiasm of the presenter, Karlene Stefanakos, MA, CCC-SLP and her dedication to bettering the treatment outcomes for individuals with swallowing dysfunction by researching then applying the clinical and scientific knowledge base to hands-on interventions. There is a multitude of information available that allows clinicians to obtain and integrate new studies with our clinical knowledge to intervention. This is what Ms. Stefanakos has done with DPNS and the organic swallow. I have personally researched articles and studies that report the benefits of sensory stimulation on both the sensory and motor components of the neuromuscular swallowing response. (“Sensory stimulation activates both motor and sensory components of the swallowing system”; Neuroimage. 2008 August 1; 42(1): 285–295. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.04.234.) Additional findings indicate that “increased sensory input can drive long-term cross-system changes in motor areas of the cerebral cortex, which suggests that sensory stimulation might rehabilitate dysphagia, a frequent consequence of cerebral injury” (“ Long-term reorganization of human motor cortex driven by short-term sensory stimulation”; http://neurosci.nature.com, 1998.) . DPNS is an organized method of targeted sensory stimulation for achieving desired motor outcomes in dysphagia management. I am honored to share my views and experiences with my peers regarding the successes achieved both personally and as part of a medical speech pathology department. Our success rate with transitioning NPO patients with tube feedings to oral intake on our acute inpatient rehab unit was over 90% utilizing an aggressive, comprehensive treatment program of which DPNS was a major component. The most important aspect of any successful intervention is being able to understand the underlying systems, associated deficits and functional impact of the deficits. It is essential to not just know “what” you are doing; you must know “Why” you are doing it to be effective. DPNS training and ongoing practice has provided me with this foundation and with”practice-based evidence”, not to mention many happy, satisfied patients. I am confident that any clinician who participates in the training will come away with invaluable “hands on” tools to facilitate good dysphagia outcomes. Thanks Karlene, and we will see you in May, 2013! Submitted: 02/22/2013