Swallowologist is one of Speech-language pathology specialties who can evaluate and manage patients with oro-pharyngeal dysphagia. Patients complaining of swallowing difficulties such as drooling, coughing and/or choking on liquids or foods during or right after eating or drinking, wet or gurgle sounding voice during or after eating or drinking, feeling of food sticking in the throat or upper chest, extra time and effort required for eating, recurring pneumonia or chest congestion after eating, and weight loss or dehydration from not being able to eat enough may benefit from evaluation by a certified speech-language pathologist. A comprehensive dysphagia evaluation by a speech-language pathologist (Swallowologist) may help in the differential diagnosis for patients with respiratory disease, failure to thrive, unintended weight loss, and chronic cough.
Other roles for speech and swallowing physician include, but are not limited to:
- Performing clinical feeding and swallowing evaluations.
- Performing instrumental assessments that delineate structures and dynamic functions of swallowing. Assessment services are provided as needed, requested, or mandated or to rule in or out a specific disabling condition.
- Defining the abnormal swallowing anatomy and physiology and diagnosing swallowing disorders.
- Identifying additional disorders in the upper aerodigestive tract and making referrals to appropriate medical personnel.
- Making recommendations about management of swallowing and feeding disorders.
- Developing treatment plans for individuals with swallowing and feeding disorders.
- Providing treatment for swallowing and feeding disorders, documenting progress, and determining appropriate dismissal criteria.
- Teaching and counseling individuals and their families about swallowing and feeding disorders.
- Educating other professionals regarding the needs of individuals with dysphagia, and the speech-language pathologists' role in the evaluation and management of swallowing and feeding disorders.
- Outcomes of services are monitored and measured in order to ensure the quality of services provided and to improve the quality of those services.
- Appropriate follow-up services are provided to determine functional outcomes and the need for further services after discharge.
- Results of assessment and treatment are reported to the patient/client and family/caregivers, as appropriate. Reports are distributed to the referral source and other professionals when appropriate and with written consent.