It is the position of Speech-Language & Audiology Canada (SAC) that speech-language pathologists (S-LPs) contribute specific expertise in the clinical and instrumental assessment of oropharyngeal swallowing function, including laryngeal behaviours associated with swallowing, and in the development and execution of management and treatment programs for the remediation or compensation of oropharyngeal swallowing disorders. Adults with dysphagia are best served when speech-language pathologists are part of a multi-disciplinary team, where each member of the team provides unique and valuable contributions based on their particular knowledge and training. Due to the nature of their academic and clinical training, S-LPs are equipped to play a leading role on the multidisciplinary dysphagia team.
A survey of SAC members practicing in the area of dysphagia was conducted during the preparation of this position paper. The S-LPs who responded to the survey reported that S-LPs are currently the professional most frequently responsible for clinical bedside swallowing assessments, videofluoroscopy and dysphagia intervention in their workplaces. SAC members are encouraged to seek constructive opportunities to discuss and to clearly delineate the roles of all members of the dysphagia team, in order to promote effective collaborative team functioning and optimal patient care.
SAC members are required to abide by the SAC Code of Ethics and to follow provincial/territorial regulatory practice guidelines where established and mandated by legislation.