alexa The Role of the Speech-Language Pathologist in Managing Dysphagia in the Elderly
ISSN: 2167-7182

Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research
Open Access

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Review Article

The Role of the Speech-Language Pathologist in Managing Dysphagia in the Elderly

Dennis M. Ruscello*
Biotechnology Research Center, University of North Carolina – Pembroke, Pembroke, NC, USA
Corresponding Author : Dennis M. Ruscello
805 Allen Hall, P. O. 6122, West Virginia University
Morgantown, West Virginia, USA
Tel: 304-293-2894
Fax: 304-293-2905
E-mail: [email protected]
Received March 17, 2015; Accepted April 27, 2015; Published April 30, 2015
Citation: Ruscello DM (2015) The Role of the Speech-Language Pathologist in Managing Dysphagia in the Elderly. J Gerontol Geriatr Res 4:213. doi:10.4172/2167-7182.1000213
Copyright: © 2015 Ruscello DM. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Abstract

Dysphagia is a disorder of swallowing and is frequently present in the elderly. A swallowing disorder may be a function of the normal aging process or related to some disease process such as stroke or other medical issues. Patients generally exhibit different symptoms that indicate referral for an evaluation of the swallowing mechanism. The speech-language pathologist (SLP) is responsible for the diagnosis of swallowing problems and determining a course of treatment. There are a number of different treatments that may be used, but selection is a function of the specific problem. There is an evidence base to support the various treatments, but the level of evidence consists primarily of case studies and small cohort studies. The population of elderly is increasing, which means that the number of persons with dysphagia will continue to increase. Appropriate management begins with referral and leads to interdisciplinary management by a team of healthcare professionals. Professionals who work with the elderly should be aware of the potential for dysphagia and be aware of the clinical symptoms, so that an appropriate care plan may be implemented.

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