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29 July 2015

Are we doing enough to raise awareness of dysphagia and its impact on patient’s rehabilitation with healthcare professionals working outside the field?

I ask because we recently heard about a Doctor who refused to prescribe Slõ Drinks or any of the tinned thickeners because he didn’t believe in dysphagia!!

We as manufacturers, other companies in the industry, Speech and Language Professionals and those that form part of a patients care team are dealing with the consequences of dysphagia daily.

We are educating ourselves by exchanging ideas and best practices, which is all valuable.

BUT – we need to find effective ways to educate those on the fringes of dysphagia; doctors, pharmacists, care facilities – perhaps even insurance companies.

It’s easy to understand why these groups/ Organizations don’t consider it important. They’re focused on treating a primary condition.

However, when we talk to them about dysphagia, explain what it is, the fact it is a secondary symptom of 127 conditions and its disproportionately large effect on the patient and treatment of the primary condition – we receive the response at the top.

What can we do better?

Focusing on those on the fringes is an obvious start, but what with?

Perhaps parts of the course created for Speech and Language Pathologist could be adapted to provide the bare essential information.

The Swallowing Laboratory is just about to launch a course: Critical Thinking in Dysphagia Management.

It looks like a great course for Speech Pathologists and those that don’t work with dysphagia daily.

Could the key decision makers or influencers in the Organizations listed above or representatives of Pharmacy chains be invited to attend it and similar courses? Could they be invited to attend Dysphagia conferences – for free.

The sole aim of this is to bring them in to our world and help them understand the significance of dysphagia and how recognizing it will make their jobs and their patients’ lives easier.

At the other end of the educational scale, maybe it is something simple. Would helping them recognise the Signs and Symptoms of Dysphagia mean more patients will be referred to a Speech and Language Professional?



These are just a few ideas, but I am sure there are lots of others that are easy to implement.

Either way – we have to work harder to make sure there are no “Dysphagia Disbelievers”.

What do you think?


Mathew Done

Founder: Slõ Drinks

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