Comparing dysphagia therapy in head and neck cancer patients in Australia with international healthcare systems

Nadine Lawson, Gintas P. Krisciunas, Susan E. Langmore, Kerlly Castellano, William Sokoloff, Reza Hayatbakhsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Purpose: The Australian healthcare system has invested heavily in multidisciplinary cancer care teams. Despite such investments, guidelines that clearly delineate standard of care dysphagia treatment are lacking and services provided to Head and Neck Cancer (HNC) patients are not always consistent. There is little consensus regarding the frequency and intensity of dysphagia therapy. This is largely due to a lack of well-designed clinical trials that establish the efficacy of any dysphagia therapy in this patient population. The aim of this study was to evaluate HNC dysphagia therapy patterns among Australian speech-language pathologists (SLPs). Method: A 22 question internet-based survey was administered to a web-based professional interest group. Results were analysed by institution type and individual clinical experience. Result: A response rate of 46% was achieved (67 out of 144 surveyed). This survey identified several aspects of dysphagia management that were provided uniformly in addition to many aspects of care that showed a lack of consensus. Conclusion: By comparing the results of this survey with existing international best-evidence treatment guidelines, the development of uniform Australian guidelines may be facilitated. However, more authoritative data on dysphagia treatment efficacy is needed to provide uniform evidence-based HNC dysphagia treatment guidelines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-138
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 4 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Dysphagia
  • Head and Neck Cancer
  • Speech-Language Pathology
  • Swallowing
  • Usual practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Research and Theory
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • LPN and LVN
  • Speech and Hearing


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