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A Comprehensive Look at Swallow Assessments
A Comprehensive Look at Swallow Assessments

Swallow assessment is a subjective measure that varies clinician to clinician based on preferred protocol most often utilized. In a survey conducted by ASHA, Riquelme (2015) notes that the most commonly used swallow exam by SLP’s is some form of an informal checklist containing swallow characteristics. Riquelme (2015) refers to a 2011 study by Harrenberg & Carnaby – Mann that offered possible reasons for certain favored protocols over others as clinicians’ having “confidence in current clinical assessment methods, lack of education in clinical assessment techniques, use of the clinical exam as a “screen” only, limited knowledge of value and availability of valid clinical exams, lack of resources to invest in assessment training of staff, or an overreliance on expensive instrumental evaluation methods”. Riquelme (2015) notes that clinicians have been using the two terms, “screen” and “evaluation” interchangeably in the literature since 1997 when they are two distinctly different entities. There is still argument among authors about what constitutes a “screen” and what constitutes an “evaluation”. In order for a clinician to increase their effectiveness in assessing swallows, they must be able to appropriately identify their chosen protocols accurately, their benefits, and their limitations. This course will define and review all evidenced based assessment methods for the swallow including screens, evaluations, and instrumental evaluations as well as other methods previously used that have been proven ineffective in swallow assessment. Disclosures: Amy Reinstein MS, CCC-SLP has no relevant financial or nonfinancial relationships to disclose.

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