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dysphagia, head and neck cancer, quality of life, speech-language pathologist, swallowing



  1. Davis, Lori A. EdD, CCC-SLP


Dysphagia, like any chronic health condition, negatively impacts quality of life (QOL). Individuals with dysphagia report social and psychological problems associated with having a swallowing disorder. Healthcare professionals may have different perceptions of an individual's needs related to swallowing and may not consider or assess the nonphysical aspects of the disease. This may lead to dissatisfaction with healthcare. Professionals can address the psychosocial as well as physical aspects of dysphagia by determining individuals' perspective of their needs. Careful evaluation by the speech-language pathologist and other members of the dysphagia team with recommendations and a treatment plan formed jointly with the individual is recommended. Providing education about signs of dysphagia and changes in swallowing due to a disease process or treatment may improve QOL. More research using validated and specific tools to assess the impact of swallowing disorders on QOL and treatment effectiveness for different groups is needed.