D1.8 Speech pathologist/therapist

Speech pathologists are involved in the assessment and management of dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) in individuals with COPD and can be accessed in the community or in a hospital setting (inpatient or outpatient). Early identification of dysphagia in those with COPD and adequate management can minimise COPD exacerbations and hospital admissions (Kobayashi 2007, Schermer 2006) [evidence level III-2].

Speech Pathologists use case history from patients and their partners or carers, clinical swallow examinations, patient self-report scales and instrumental swallowing assessments – videofluoroscopy and fibreoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) to assess and diagnose dysphagia (Ghannouchi 2016, Regan 2017).  Strategies for the management of dysphagia are listed in O7.6 Aspiration.

Management of dysphagia in individuals with COPD is dependent on the individual’s swallowing difficulties and is prescribed by the Speech Pathologist (McKinstry 2010).