Feature Image

Doctors told Harold Bown that he would never be able to eat again.


Through hard work and rehabilitation at Life Care Center of Boise, Idaho, Bown has proved them wrong.


Bown had been hospitalized for pneumonia six times in a year and a half. After his last bout with aspiration pneumonia, he came to the Boise facility looking for someone who could teach him to swallow safely on a consistent basis.


When Bown arrived at Life Care Center of Boise on May 19, 2017, he was on a feeding tube. Cheryl Demeester, speech therapist, got to work helping him learn to swallow again. She used oral motor exercises and VitalStim® electrical stimulation to accomplish this, and she used a fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing when she felt he was ready to progress in his diet.


Each time Bown underwent the FEES test, he was able to safely add a new texture for food and liquids. The restorative dining and exercise program also helped him practice.


“Harold was very motivated to get rid of the tube while still wanting to be safe with his diet,” said Demeester. “He has progressed to eating and getting the tube out.”


“They helped me with swallowing, and they have set me up with a daily water log to keep track of,” Bown said.


Bown returned to his assisted living facility on June 9 and is continuing speech therapy on an outpatient basis. As of June 26, he was able to eat a moist mechanical soft diet with nectar-thick liquids.