New scope gives video images of a patient’s swallow

The Speech and Language Therapy Team at Eastbourne District General Hospital have received an endoscopy stack and two top of the range video nasendoscopes which will be used to assess patients ability to swallow. The equipment, worth £79,000, was donated by the Friends of Eastbourne Hospital.

Fibreoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing is a recognised tool for the assessment and management of swallowing disorders. It involves passing a small endoscope up through the nose to visualise the throat during the swallowing assessment. It is portable and can be taken to the patient; it is well tolerated and can be repeated without concern of radiation exposure.

This new service will be available to inpatients under the care of Speech and Language Therapy to help assess and develop management plans to support patients to eat and drink as safely as possible. The Trust is also hoping to run the award winning swallow disorder clinic in conjunction with Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) specialists to support patients in their own homes who may have difficulty swallowing.

Anita Smith, Consultant Speech and Language Therapist thanked the Friends of Eastbourne Hospital at their AGM this month saying: “This is an incredibly generous donation, for which we are extremely thankful.  It can be really challenging sometimes to diagnose a patients swallowing difficulty at the bedside. This new equipment will enable us to directly visualise the throat before and after the swallow which will help us to identify why the patient is having difficulty. It will provide the information required to establish what is safe for the patient to eat and drink. As it is all videoed we will be able to show the patient how they swallow and what they can do to help themselves.”

Harry Walmsley, Chairman Friends of Eastbourne Hospital said, “We are delighted to be able to fund this new equipment to help assess a person’s ability to swallow. Swallowing is such a basic everyday function that we all take for granted. So to be able to assist Speech and Language Therapists in assessing swallow issues will be invaluable to those who have difficulties in that regard. Our thanks go to the enormous generosity of local people who make donations such as these possible.”

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