Background: Dysphagia is a disorder of swallowing and/or feeding. It is associated with malnutrition, dehydration, pulmonary pneumonia and increased mortality. Timely assessment and management of dysphagia carried out by speech and language pathologist is necessary. SLPs evaluates and treats patients with dysphagia by using dysphagia therapy, postural changes, swallowing maneuvers and recommends texture modified dysphagia diet.
Objective: The aim of the present study was to explore the level of awareness medical practitioner have regarding dysphagia and speech and language pathologists role in dysphagia.
Methodology: A non experimental, descriptive survey was conducted for the purpose of this research. Information was gathered by mean of a self designed questionnaire. The data was collected from Railway Hospital, Fauji Foundation Hospital and Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) by using purposive convenient sampling technique. The sample of the study consists of 52 medical practitioners (27 males and 25 females) working in different hospitals, in which speech and language services were available and speech and language pathologists were accessible fulltime.
Results: The data analysis was carried out with SPSS version 17.0 for windows. The score obtained by the participants was 46.4%. The result shows that medical practitioners do not have adequate knowledge regarding the assessment and management of patients who suffer from eating and drinking difficulties.
Conclusion: On the basis of the present research, it was concluded that medical practitioners lack in their knowledge and understanding of basic dysphagia assessment and management practices. Their lack of awareness of SLP role results in decrease SLP referrals.
Key words: Dysphagia, Speech and Language Pathologist, Medical Practitioners, Swallowing Disorder