Adult thumb sucking

I am an OTR working in LTC. I have a patient who is 65 years old, mentally retarded, blind, severe contractures, and has sucked her thumb until she has skin breakdown. We cannot use elbow splints because she gets very agitated without the sucking. Nursing has put on mitts and wrapped with bandages, but she continues to try to suck and will tear up the bandages with her few remaining teeth and we are afraid of her swallowing material. We have discussed using splinting material and constructing a splint to cover her thumb, but are concerned that splinting material is not meant to be in the mouth. I feel we need to find a substitute that will not harm her. Anyone with suggestions?

Comments for Adult thumb sucking

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Jun 25, 2014
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A temporary, but effective, "cure"
by: Anonymous

The suggestion that she sucks someone else's thumb may be "out of the box" but it works, at least in my experience. From what I've seen, the angle has to be correct and it can be done long enough for healing to take affect (usually 4-6 weeks). The volunteer (if you can find one...we did) will need to be informed that it will affect their thumb also. Note, too, that we had to pay overtime for this "service" but it was a lot more cost effective than any other technique that we either envisioned or tried.

Jun 12, 2014
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A Possible Cure
by: Anonymous

If she damages her thumb it's probably a good idea to train her to either use her other thumb or, and I realize this may be out of the box, have her suck someone else's thumb.

Feb 05, 2013
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Why???
by: Anonymous

What is the big deal to make her stop?? It is probably the only joy and comfort she has in life. She is not hurting anyone. Let her suck her Thumb !!!!!!!

Nov 01, 2011
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get to the root maybe??
by: Anonymous

Everything being suggested here is a compensation and not addressing the root of WHY this person has to suck their thumb. Have you looked into reflexes, such as 'sucking' reflex or Babkin-Palmomental? Look up Masgutova NeuroSensorimotor Reflex Integration(MNRI), they have a whole program devoted to Oral Motor Reflex Integration.

May 19, 2011
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remidie
by: vikas

we should dip the thumb of the patient in Capsaicin so tat he stops sucking his thumb within few months

May 19, 2011
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BEST REMIDIE
by: vikas

pour some Capsaicin on the thumb of the patient ... it ll surely help him/her ....
he wont suck his thumb for any longer

Feb 07, 2011
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Thumb suck
by: Steve Faherty

I recall seeing orange colored rubber covers for fingers. I think they were for money counters. Tincture of Benzoine is used for holding tape on. Perhaps that or an adhesive that is safe with just enough tack could be useful.

Feb 03, 2011
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adult thumb sucking
by: Anonymous

When my daughter was small she would suck her thumb until it was raw. The pediatrician said that if I try and force her to give it up it would just make it worse and to just let her give it up on her own. In the meantime I would just bandage one thumb at a time, so she always had one available. She gave up thumb sucking by about 4 years old and had no dental problems, her teeth are beautiful. Do you bandage both hands? maybe if you just bandage one you could switch before the skin breaks down. At this point I don't think you are going to get your patient to give it up so you are going to have to work with it the best you can.

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