Dysphagia training: is there a consensus view?
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background: This project focused on the provision of pre and post-registration dysphagia training for speech and language therapists (SLTs). Dysphagia is an area of SLT practice that has changed vastly changed over recent years. However, the guidelines provided by the RCSLT regarding dysphagia training for SLTs have yet to be revised in accordance with this. However, the RCSLT have recently announced they are to modernise their recommendations on pre and post-registration dysphagia training, which are due for publication in autumn 2013 Aims: The aim of this study was to gather opinions from SLTs and SLT students regarding the following areas of dysphagia training: provision (when and what); competency; supervision and assessment. The aim was to discover if there was a ‘consensus’ view that could help contribute to future dysphagia curriculum design. Methods and Procedures: Mixed research methods were used in this project. Twenty-two SLT participants completed a preliminary questionnaire, this included closed and open-ended questions. The closed questions were analysed for central tendencies and the open-ended questions were analysed using saturated thematic analysis. Subsequently, a focus-group was carried out with five SLT students. Also, four semi-structured interviews were carried out with SLTs. Thi aim was to develop a wider perspective on the findings of the questionnaire. All interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) Outcomes and Results: The study identified areas of strong consensus in relation to pre and post-registration dysphagia training. There was a consensus that more dysphagia input is needed at pre-registration level in order to reflect the increasing involvement of SLTs with dysphagia clients. The importance of practical ‘hands-on’ experience was identified as particularly important in relation to dysphagia training. The study also identified areas where there was no consensus particularly in relation to competency and supervision in pre and post-registration dysphagia training. This highlighted the need for the anticipated dysphagia curriculum guidelines to be clear and comprehensive in order to ensure parity of training. Conclusions and Implications: The current dysphagia guidelines are ambiguous and open to interpretation. This study highlighted areas of pre and post-registration training where improvements and further updates to curriculum guidelines are needed. Recommendations were made that are helpful with regards to future dysphagia curriculum development.
B.Sc.(Hons) Speech and Language Therapy
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