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How nutritionists work with SLPs to create a diet for patients with dysphagia

  • Broadcast in Health
Amy Zellmer

Amy Zellmer


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Certain neurological conditions, including stroke, brain injury, and Parkinson’s disease, cause muscles in the head and neck to have decreased strength, range of motion, coordination and/or speed, which can result in dysphagia, the medical term for difficulty or discomfort when swallowing. While it is a common post-stroke symptom, the severity of dysphagia can range from minimal to profound impairments, and may require the temporary or permanent placement of a feeding tube.

This treatment team includes a speech-language pathologist (SLP) and a nutritionist who work together to create a proper nutrition plan. 

SLP: Lauren Stermer Holdaway, SLP at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Ocala received her bachelor’s degree from Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio in 2006 and then went on to earn her master’s degree in speech-language pathology from the University of Montevallo in 2011. She has since worked in a variety of settings including inpatient rehabilitation, acute care, outpatient rehabilitation and skilled nursing.  She currently works with adolescents and adults suffering from speech, language, cognitive, voice and swallowing disorders. 

Nutritionist: Devin Breedon, RDN, LD, is a registered dietitian at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Ocala. Devin graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in dietetics and completed a dietetic internship at Texas A&M-Kingsville. He has been providing nutritional counseling in hospital and outpatient settings for six years, specializing in geriatric and rehabilitative nutrition. Devin also works with a population that has extensive medical comorbidities including diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease. Devin is a member of the academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Florida Academy of Nutrition.