The TheraSIP Professional Series is a set of stainless-steel micro-sized resist straws which may be autoclaved. The single use TheraSIP Swallowing Trainer uses polypropylene extruded straws rather than stainless-steel that are reusable with the same patient.
TheraSIP Swallowing Trainer is a resistive exerciser involving pressured sucking of thin liquid through micro-sized straws and then using the small sips to practice traditional swallowing exercises such as the tongue hold, the effortful swallow, or the Mendelsohn maneuver. Repetition is key to this tool in that the amount sucked is equivalent to the saliva in the mouth, allowing safe repetitive hard dry swallow drills. The resistance straws come in three sizes and are not for functional drinking. The patient is required to suck as hard as possible, and the amount drawn can be measured and monitored by the clinician. The exercise of pressured sucking involves lip seal, velo-pharyngeal seal, laryngeal seal, and activation of the suprahyoid muscles, particularly the mylohyoid and the digastric muscle (Ratovsky et al., 2012). The act of sucking ensures the exercise has specificity and the three straws of different sizes allows the exercise to be increased in difficulty. Normative information (Clark et.al. 2014) regarding the amounts typically drawn by adults are provided.
Included in the kit is:
- a 50 mL graduated cylinder,
- a measuring cup,
- a set of four resistance straws.
- The professional series allows medical settings to autoclave and use the straws with more than one patient. The kit does not provide stainless TheraSTRAW Assessment straws. It does include a complementary single-use TheraSIP Swallowing Trainer and a set of the TheraSTRAW Assessment straws.
The complimentary TheraSTRAW Assessment is a set of polypropylene functional reusable drinking straws of various interior diameters which telescope into each other to keep the exterior size of the straw consistent. The TheraSTRAW Assessment straws are designed for assessing thin liquids at bedside and during instrumental studies to determine if the swallowing of small boluses can be performed safely. It is important to ensure the patient’s mouth is not dry or else false results may happen. Use of SwallowMist or DirectMist work well to lubricate the mouth before taking sips with straws. Observation of cough or other signs of difficulty at bedside will provide helpful information for the instrumental study. The safest TheraSTRAW can then be prescribed for free water protocols.
TheraSIP is committed to thin liquids both as part of swallowing exercises as well as for maintaining hydration. The straws are engineered to scientifically measure bolus size as a means of restoring swallow and keeping hydration front and center.