Original Research

The current practices, training and concerns of a group of hospital-based speech therapists working in the area of dysphagia

Naina Modi, Eleanor Ross
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 47, No 1 | a217 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v47i1.217 | © 2019 Naina Modi, Eleanor Ross | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 October 2016 | Published: 31 December 2000

About the author(s)

Naina Modi, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Eleanor Ross, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Full Text:

PDF (381KB)

Share this article

Bookmark and Share

Abstract

The aim of the study was to investigate the current practices, training, and concerns of a group of hospital-based speech therapists regarding the area of dysphagia practice. Questionnaires were posted to 75 speech therapists working in the major hospitals around Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Cape Province and responses were obtained from 50 therapists within the stipulated time. Closed-ended questions were analysed quantitatively using descriptive statistics, while open-ended items were subjected to content analysis of themes articulated by respondents. Results indicated that the overwhelming majority of the respondents were involved in assessing and treating dysphagia patients. Specific problems faced by respondents included limited staff to share their workloads, large caseloads, restricted access to supervision/mentor systems and poor knowledge by other health personnel of their role in dysphagia. Almost half of the respondents also reported that they were involved in student training which included the area of dysphagia. Investigation of respondents' undergraduate and postgraduate training in dysphagia suggested that there were gaps in the theoretical content of these courses as well as a limited focus on practical training. Another finding was that respondents showed an awareness of the specific roles of the speech therapist in dysphagia intervention as well as the roles of the professionals constituting a multidisciplinary dysphagia team. Most of the respondents reported that they had access to dysphagia team members as well as to diet modification services. However, many of the respondents showed decreased knowledge of and awareness regarding accessibility of diagnostic procedures and suctioning methods used in dysphagia. The majority of the respondents rated their knowledge about specific theoretical areas as well as their counselling abilities to be better than their actual skills and confidence in assessing and treating dysphagia patients. Implications of the study included the need for clinicians, universities and professional organizations to work together to improve the existing situation.

Keywords

dysphagia; practices; training; hospital-based speech therapists

Metrics

Total abstract views: 107
Total article views: 59

 

Crossref Citations

1. New graduates’ perceptions of preparedness to provide speech-language therapy services in general and dysphagia services in particular
Shajila Singh, Alannah Booth, Fadziso Choto, Jessica Gotlieb, Rebecca Robertson, Gabriella Morris, Nicola Stockley, Katya Mauff
South African Journal of Communication Disorders  vol: 62  issue: 1  year: 2015  
doi: 10.4102/sajcd.v62i1.110