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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 259-272

A preliminary survey of dysphagia practice patterns among speech-language pathologists in India

1 Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Florida International University, Miami, FL, USA
2 Department of Otolaryngology and Communicative Sciences, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS, USA

Correspondence Address:
Balaji Rangarathnam
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Florida International University, 11200 SW 8th Street, AHC-3, Room 431B, Miami, FL 33199
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jisha.JISHA_20_19

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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to survey and describe dysphagia practice patterns among speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in India, where no standardized practice pattern guidelines currently exist. Although the overarching goals of dysphagia rehabilitation are largely similar, population needs, clinical practice patterns, availability of resources, and dysphagia research varies around the world. Professional bodies related to swallowing disorders in countries such as the USA, the UK, Australia, and Canada have implemented preferred national practice guidelines for dysphagia clinicians, to ensure consistency in clinical practices, high standards of care, and to improve the patient outcomes. In India, consensus-driven SLP services for dysphagia management are yet to be fully established. Detailed knowledge of current practices is necessary to inform future training and infrastructure needs, to which end this pilot survey was conducted. Methods: A web-based questionnaire was created using Qualtrics. Twenty-five questions related to dysphagia assessment and treatment practices were included. Five dysphagia experts rated the questionnaire for content validity. Blast E-mail solicitations were requested, and forty-eight participants responded to the survey anonymously. Results: The results demonstrated considerable variability in practice patterns for swallowing assessment and dysphagia treatment among SLPs in India, with barriers related to funding, access to instrumental assessments, and limited clinical education and training. The findings from this survey highlight ongoing challenges to professional education and growth in dysphagia practices in India. Conclusions: The variability in responses indicates a need to establish the national guidelines that will enable Indian SLPs to move toward standards of practice, largely compatible with more established dysphagia services, and practices in some other countries. This will likely help improve clinical competence, in addition to patient outcomes and quality of care.

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