Opinion Paper

Community service speech language therapists practising in adult dysphagia: Is the healthcare system failing them?

Kim A. Coutts
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 66, No 1 | a615 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v66i1.615 | © 2019 Kim A. Coutts | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 November 2018 | Published: 18 July 2019

About the author(s)

Kim A. Coutts, Department of Speech Pathology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Performing community service is a necessity prior to practising speech language therapy in South Africa. This system allows for improved access to these specialised services in the more rural areas. The current challenges of practising in complex settings with little access to mentorship can result in these community service therapists feeling underprepared to assess and manage patients presenting with adult dysphagia (swallowing disorders). This paper explores this topic through the theoretical lens of decision-making, from both clinical and academic perspectives. It aims to pose potential solutions on how to better transform the current practices to be contextually responsive to these challenges.

Keywords

Speech pathology; community service; decision-making; dysphagia; mentoring.

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