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Consensus-building on developing dysphagia competence: A North West of England perspective

Guthrie, S and Lancaster, John and Stansfield, J (2017) Consensus-building on developing dysphagia competence: A North West of England perspective. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 52 (6). pp. 854-869. ISSN 1368-2822

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Abstract

© 2017 Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. Background: Dysphagia has been an increasing area of practice for speech and language therapists (SLTs) for over 20 years, and throughout that period there has been debate about how practical skills in dysphagia can best be developed. The implementation of the new Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) framework was considered from a regional perspective seeking to establish consensus across different speech and language therapy settings. Aim: To explore practical solutions to the development of dysphagia competency in new graduates whilst acknowledging the wide variation in staffing and clinical dysphagia experience across the geographical and clinical landscape in the North West of England. Methods & Procedures: A four-phase study involved a literature search; interviews with experts in the field of dysphagia; a survey to identify current practice; and a two-round Delphi process. Outcomes & Results: Five themes emerged for dysphagia competency development: development of practical skills; supervision; clinical excellence networks; workforce planning; and postgraduate formal training. Challenges, and solutions to these, were identified through the phases of the study. A model for dysphagia competency development relevant to the North West context was achieved by consensus. Conclusions & Implications: There are many practical ways of developing dysphagia competency. The themes and model generated provide constructive support to services in adopting the most appropriate methods for their own settings.

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