Dysphagia care for adults in the community setting commands a different approach: perspectives of speech–language therapists

Howells, Simone R., Cornwell, Petrea L., Ward, Elizabeth C., and Kuipers, Pim (2019) Dysphagia care for adults in the community setting commands a different approach: perspectives of speech–language therapists. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 54 (6). pp. 971-981.

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Abstract

Background: Descriptions of community-based speech–language therapy (SLT) dysphagia practices and services are underrepresented in the research literature, despite the prevalence of dysphagia in the community. Owing to a globally ageing population and government drives to support people to remain living at home rather than in hospital or aged care, there is a growing need for SLT services to be responsive to the needs of clients living at home in the community, referred to in this study as ‘community-based clients’. Exploration of current SLT services and dysphagia care practices for this population may identify ways services can be designed and enhanced to better meet the needs of clients and carers. Aims: To explore the nature (i.e., characteristics) of dysphagia services and SLT clinical practices for adults with dysphagia living at home in the community.

Methods & Procedures: Using a qualitative descriptive approach positioned within an explanatory sequential mixed methods design, this study explored SLT services and practices for adults with dysphagia living in the community to explain further and elaborate on findings from an earlier quantitative study. A total of 15 SLTs working with community-based clients with dysphagia were recruited using purposive representative sampling. Content analysis was used to explore the data.

Outcomes & Results: The overarching theme of community commands a different approach and was illustrated by three subthemes that highlighted how and why a different approach to dysphagia care in the community setting was necessary: (1) skills and mindset require adaptation in the community context; (2) values and approaches are different in the community context; and (3) organizational influences impact service delivery in the community context. From the data, it is apparent that the work undertaken in the community setting differs from dysphagia care in other settings and requires adapted SLT skills, values and approaches that encompass holistic care, client autonomy and carer engagement. SLT practices are also informed by organizational influences such as policies and resourcing, which in some services were enablers, while for others these presented challenges.

Conclusions & Implications: Community-based SLT services must continue to foster flexible, responsive practices by SLTs to ensure the needs of clients and carers are met now and in future.

Item ID: 74211
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1460-6984
Keywords: community, dysphagia, practice, qualitative, speech–language therapists
Copyright Information: ©2019 Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists
Date Deposited: 19 May 2022 03:00
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4201 Allied health and rehabilitation science > 420109 Rehabilitation @ 10%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420305 Health and community services @ 20%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4201 Allied health and rehabilitation science > 420110 Speech pathology @ 70%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2003 Provision of health and support services > 200302 Community health care @ 55%
20 HEALTH > 2003 Provision of health and support services > 200301 Allied health therapies (excl. mental health services) @ 45%
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