Dysphagia Management in Long Term Care: Essentials for the New Dysphagia Therapist


The need for dysphagia therapists continues to rise, despite the sweeping changes in Medicare reimbursement of recent years. Speech Language Pathologists with limited training and expertise are finding themselves in demand to provide these services in areas where more experienced therapists are unavailable.

This introductory level course includes time-sensitive core materials that establish the foundations for dysphagia therapy in LTC. Case study examples are provided to facilitate the acquisition of care process essentials. Topics include: normal vs. abnormal swallowing physiology, screening, evaluation, and treatment techniques. Medicare codes and documentation guidelines are reviewed, as well as examples of plan of care goals and functional maintenance programs.

Teaching Methods include: Course content delivered in a text format, graphics, pictures, nine (9) required assignments, live web links, as well as a discussion board and email to instructor. At the completion of lessons 2, 3, and 5 there are short 14 to 15 question exam. A minimum total score of 80% on the three exams is required to pass the course.

This course is comprised of 5 lessons. Each lesson has sub-topics relating to the lesson title. There are nine (9) assignments that are required within this course and are to be posted in the Forum.

Course Goal: The new dysphagia clinician will gain an increased confidence in basic level evaluation techniques, treatment options and care planning outlines for management of the geriatric dysphagia patient.

Upon completion of this course, the Learner will be able to:
  • Identify anatomy and structure related to swallowing
  • Describe the normal swallow process Identify major symptoms of dysphagia and aspiration
  • List negative outcomes of dysphagia Perform an oral motor assessment Identify symptoms of pharyngeal phase dysphagia Identify symptoms of esophageal phase dysphagia
  • Apply basic treatment techniques for dysphagia management
  • Write long and short term goals for dysphagia Understand current billing codes and guidelines for dysphagia therapy

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