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Help Define the Dysphagia Evaluation .pdf

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Help Define the Dysphagia
By guest student bloggers: Jillian DiTota, BS & Victoria
Abolafia, BA
Graduate Students from Southern Connecticut State University

Authors of the Survey: Clinical Preferences and
Practices of Speech-Language Pathologists for
Swallowing Evaluation
(Blog edited by Karen Sheffler, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S of SwallowStudy.com)

Introduction to Evidence-Based Practice
Our first ever Communication Disorders lecture in college
was structured arou d Evidence-Based Practice a d
its i
e se sig ifica ce. The professor could ’t stress
enough the huge role that research plays in guiding our
care for people who have difficulties communicating
and/or swallowing. Evidence from the literature is
crucial, whether we are working with voice, speech,
language, or cognitive issues or performing a
swallowing evaluation (aka, dysphagia evaluation) or
treatment session.
It seemed poetic: Delicately reported data made widely
available for SLPs to help those in need.
It made us sound like superheroes, and it sparked our

The idea of adding to this body of evidence to support
patients from a distance was what inspired us to
choose this research path in our graduate program. We
were enticed with the idea that our work will not only
help patients, but also it will help fellow clinicians. This
is something that is not directly taught in graduate

Background of Our Work
Our background research began by reading as many
articles as possible, including the work of our
supervisor, Dr. Heather Warner Ph.D., CCC-SLP
(Assistant Professor at the Department of
Communication Disorders at Southern Connecticut
State University). We wanted our research to be as
valuable to SLPs as the nurse-administered Yale
Swallow Protocol.This is just one example of the
beneficial literature to which our supervisor has
contributed (1). We quickly learned of the enormous
body of literature filled with valuable, inspiring, and
important research. To narrow our area of interest, we
focused on a specific aspect of speech-language
pathology to which we wished to add.

As practicing clinicians, we strive to continuously reevaluate our clinical practice to ensure that it is well
aligned with what the current literature tells us about
best practice. In 1999, Dr. Gary McCullough and
colleagues surveyed practicing SLPs regarding their
clinical practice in the area of swallowing assessment
(2). His findings were instrumental in providing us with
information about how SLPs were conducting
swallowing evaluations at the time. It allowed clinicians
to determine if what they were doing was supported
by evidence in the literature or popular opinion. This
desire to allow evidence to drive our practice should
be something we are constantly striving for in our daily
practice, particularly in the critical clinical area of the
dysphagia evaluation (aka, swallowing evaluation or
swallowing assessment).

The McCullough study provided important information
for our field; however, we must realize that this
research was published 18 years ago. New clinicians
have entered the field, and a plethora of dysphagia
evaluation research has since been published. Given
the importance of this clinical question and continued
relevance in our field, it is important for the data to be
Why Should You Take Our Survey?
By participating in this survey, about your current clinical
practice in swallowing evaluation (dysphagia
evaluation), you will contribute to an in-depth review
of how the literature co pares to curre t cli icia s’
preferences and practices. It takes 15-20 minutes to
complete, and you will be contributing to valuable
research and an eventual resource to guide our current
clinical practice.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to contribute to
this important clinical question! We look forward to
sharing our findings with you.
1. Warner, H. L., Suiter, D. M., Nystrom, K. V., Poskus, K., &
Leder, S. B. (2014). Comparing accuracy of the Yale
Swallow Protocol when administered by registered
nurses and speech-language pathologists. Journal of
clinical nursing, 23(13-14), 1908-1915.
2. McCullough, G. H., Wertz, R. T., Rosenbek, J. C., &
Dinneen, C. 1999 . Cli icia s’ prefere ces a d
practices in conducting clinical/bedside and
videofluoroscopic swallowing examinations in an adult,
neurogenic population. American Journal of SpeechLanguage Pathology, 8(2), 149-163.

References link:
For More Information Please Visit us:
Email: KarenSheffler@SwallowStudy.com

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