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    VitalStim® Therapy and Beyond: DINES Specialty Certificate Program

    Learning the Options, Mastering the Modality - An ICE Accredited Certificate Program

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  • RESOURCES & DISCIPLINES       Bring This Course to You!

    Appropriate Disciplines


    • Speech Language Pathologist
    • Occupational Therapist

Course Description

This is an ADULT FOCUSED COURSE. Click HERE for Pediatric Focus.


Welcome to the UPDATED VitalStim Therapy course!
The VitalStim Certificate Program was introduced to the professional dysphagia community in 2003 as the competency course for the only FDA-cleared NMES device for dysphagia treatment. The program, then known as the VitalStim Certification Program, revolutionized dysphagia therapy! The popular course has gone through multiple revisions since its inception, incorporating the latest findings from the research and clinical communities. This new course update is the most significant to date. It is the result of several converging trends in the field of NMES for dysphagia treatment. The new content reflects significant growth of scientific research, an increase in available treatment protocols and an expansion of available equipment options.

Course Description
VitalStim Therapy and Beyond: DINES (Dynamic Integration of NMES and Exercise for Swallowing) This accredited hands-on competency course will focus on the muscle physiology, kinesiology, and pathology of the normal and abnormal swallowing mechanisms. The principles of NMES will be taught in tandem with active dysphagia exercise therapy. NMES for Dysphagia protocols, using FDA cleared devices, will be covered against the backdrop of neurophysiology of the swallowing mechanism and available research. Adjustments to NMES parameters - frequency, phase duration, duty cycle, and more - will be incorporated in specific treatment protocols and extensively practiced in hands-on lab sessions. Cases will be evaluated using the impairment model (pathology; symptoms; signs; dysfunctions; and impairments) and treatment planning will be practiced.

Participants will receive one-on-one attention from two experienced instructors, a dysphagia expert and an electrical stimulation expert. Instructors will deliver relevant information on FDA clearance and clinical options relevant to different equipment options available today to better equip clinicians in the ever-changing world of NMES for dysphagia.

Participants who successfully complete this course will leave as a skilled VitalStim Provider and DINES Provider with the confidence and building blocks needed to implement a successful NMES for dysphagia therapy program.

"I learned more about dysphagia in this course than I did in all of grad school!"

Conflict of Interest
None. This is the only NMES for Dysphagia training course not affiliated with the sale of any equipment or electrode. The content and administration of this course is wholly independent of any manufacturer.

Provider Benefits
  • A Specialty Certificate from the only acreditted NMES for Dysphagia course
  • VitalStim Provider designation
  • DINES Provider designation
  • Access to dedicated NMES Clinical Consultant
  • Access to the VitalStim/DINES Provider Facebook group - a private network of THOUSANDS of active Providers
  • Listing on the official VitalStim/DINES Registry
  • Access to the official VitalStim/DINES Provider Document Library
  • Access to continuing education specifically for VitalStim/DINES Providers
  • $50 discount voucher towards the NDC Examination application
This is course is not affiliated with the sale of any equipment or electrode. The content and administration of this course is wholly independent of any manufacturer.

This is an intermediate level course. Requirements for the course are as follows:
  • Successful completion of online anatomy and MBS review course (click link for more details) MBS Course Instructions
  • Prior knowledge and experience in dysphagia management
  • Dysphagia as a significant portion of active caseload
  • SLP or OTR with current licensure in state of practice
  • SLP or OTR in compliance with state and national practice acts
DINES Specialty recognition will be awarded to those who:
  • Online Course: pass written assignments. pass multiple choice quizzes with a minimum 80% accuracy
  • Live Course - pass written exam with 80% accuracy. Pass practical labs demonstrating safe and accurate application of NMES for dysphagia therapy as determined by both instructors.
NOTE: If these criteria are not met at the course, additional opportunities to successfully complete the process will be available.

CIAO offers the VitalStim Specialty course for two populations (adult and pediatric). Either course may be taken to become a VitalStim Provider. VitalStim Providers may treat either or both populations.
VitalStim Therapy and Beyond is now a Specialty Certificate Program!
This program is the only accredited NMES for Dysphagia program. After successful completion of this program, participants receive their Specialty Certificate as a specialist in the use of NMES for the treatment of dysphagia. On April 3, 2015, the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) granted accreditation to CIAO Seminars' VitalStim Therapy Specialty Program for demonstrating compliance with ICE 1100 - Standard for Assessment-Based Certificate Programs. ICE 1100 was first published in January 2009 to ensure that assessment-based certificate programs adhere to modern standards of practice for the credentialing industry. More information about ICE is available online at www.credentialingexcellence.org.
Course Pricing
$775
$350 (Renewal at Live Course - earn 16 hrs. of continuing education credit)

Renewal Options (Maintain your Specialty Certificate by completing a renewal course once every 3 years)

Live Renewal
Attend the live 2 day VitalStim course again (no online MBS required for renewal)
16 hrs. of continuing education credit will be awarded for successful completion of course.
Entire live course is required for this option.
Register above by selecting the date/city and clicking register.
Choose the price option labeled "Renewal (no online MBS course required)"

Online Renewal
8.5 hrs. of continuing education credit will be awarded for successful completion of course.
Activate course within 6 months of purchase
30 days to complete once activated

The VitalStim® Therapy and Beyond: DINES Specialty Certificate Program includes the online course, MBS: The Clear Picture (12hrs) and the two day hands-on "VitalStim® Therapy and Beyond: DINES Specialty Certificate Program" (16hrs) for a total of 28 hours of continuing education credit.

VitalStim is a registered trademark of VitalStim, LLC.
VitalStim Therapy and Beyond: DINES Specialty Certificate Program© CIAO Seminars

AOTA Classification Codes
Domain of OT: Client Factors, Context Environment
OT Process: Intervention
Vital Stim, VitalStim, Vital Stem, VitalStim Certification, Vitastim, NMES for Dysphagia, ESwallow, Guardian, Tim Carrigan

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify and describe the anatomical structures relevant to the swallowing function
  • Demonstrate accurate palpation of accessible structures in the head and neck region as relevant to the use of NMES
  • Describe relevant neurological and physiological aspects of normal and abnormal swallowing, including cranial nerve function and muscle fiber types
  • Describe the swallowing disorder based on the results of the evaluation in terms of impairments and dysfunctions
  • Formulate the theoretical rationale for using NMES in the treatment of dysphagia
  • Describe the characteristics of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) and the influence of electricity on muscle tissue
  • Describe the parameters of pulsed waveforms – pulse duration, phase duration, frequency, duty cycle – commonly used in NMES in dysphagia therapy
  • Describe and demonstrate common problem-solving approaches used in a typical NMES treatment session, including preparing the skin, (re)positioning the electrodes, and adjusting NMES parameters
  • Describe the physiological impact of modifying the various pulsed waveform parameters on muscle fiber recruitment, fatigue, patient tolerance and exercise intensity
  • Identify the pathological conditions for which NMES is indicated
  • List precautions and contraindications to the use of NMES in the head and neck region
  • Describe the role of regulatory bodies in clearing NMES devices to market and its impact on clinical use of NMES by dysphagia clinicians
  • Describe the characteristics of typical NMES units and self-adhesive electrodes commonly used in dysphagia therapy
  • Describe, differentiate and demonstrate the execution of common NMES treatment protocols described in the peer-reviewed literature
  • Identify appropriate outcome variables to track and measure patient progress
  • Discuss and demonstrate correct electrode positioning based on patient presentation and anatomical location of target tissues to treat, including the use of one or more stimulation channels and applying electrodes in the facial, suprahyoid and in
  • Discuss and demonstrate the use of swallowing exercise during and after the application of NMES
CIAO Seminars

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