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Thick phlegm that just consists

You can ask for a speach evaluation. It most likely comes from inability to swallow and it is just saliva in the back of the throat but there is a risk of chronic aspiration as he ages and it will get worse. Ask if there are certain foods to promote clearing. Side sleeping will help drain however hospital best practices say no. The head needs elevation 30 degrees at all times. You should be present for the therapist to answer all of your questions
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Reply to MACinCT
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You can relieve it a bit if you turn him on his side.
A person with dementia often "forgets" how to clear the throat and or swallow.
This can cause problems with aspiration.
There are medications that can minimize the secretions(my Husband was on Hospice and they used an "off label" product for drying the secretions, I have him a few drops of Atropine, tasted nasty...I had to try it before I gave him any just to find out what it tasted like and what I would have to give him to get any bad flavor out of his mouth..but it did work) There are other medications that will dry secretions.
So if he is on Hospice talk to the Nurse if not on Hospice call his doctor and see what they will prescribe.
Also depending on what stage he is in the phlegm will persist and is part of what is called Cheynes Stokes or the "Death Rattle" Cheynes Stokes is a pattern where the breathing starts and stops and the phlegm that builds up causes the "rattle" sound. This is not painful. The phlegm for the most part is not harmful, as long as it is not aspirated, and trying to use a swab to remove the phlegm can cause gagging and possibly vomiting. So adjusting the position so he is on his side so the phlegm can drain or at leas not be in the airway is best.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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Is he on Hospice Care? If so, and it’s impeding his breathing, you need to call them. We really can’t guess at a medical diagnoses even if we’ve had a loved one with the same issue. Everyone is different. If he isn’t on Hospice, call his doctor. If he’s choking, call 911.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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