Assessment and Management of Aspiration in Patients with Dysphagia: A Survey of Practicing Speech-Language Pathologists.
Consistent evaluation and management of patients with swallowing disorders requires that clinicians access a common clinical knowledge base with regard to normal and disordered swallowing physiology as well as principles of intervention. Recommendations for patients are made based in part on the clinician’s level of familiarity with this knowledge base. This study surveyed 200 speech-language pathologists with regard to aspiration and clinical interventions; 78 surveys were returned and analyzed. Levels of agreement were determined for five questions regarding the nature of aspiration and five questions regarding interventions. There were no significant differences in response patterns based upon demographics of work setting, years of experience, or formal education in dysphagia. Agreement scores revealed variability in agreement with statements regardless of whether the statements were supported in the medical literature. Patterns of clinical decision making related to identified aspiration are discussed. **********