A recent multi-center study (Logan AM, et al., Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2021 Nov;130(11):1254-1262. doi: 10.1177/00034894211001065) has found that clinical practices of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) treating head and neck cancer (HNC) patients range widely despite literature trending toward best practices.
This was a web-based survey, distributed to SLPs via listserv and social media outlets. Descriptive statistics and group calculations were completed to identify trends and associations in responses. Of 152 received surveys, the majority of respondents were hospital-based (86%) and had greater than 5 years of experience (65%). There was group consensus for the use of prophylactic exercise programs (95%), recommendations for SLP intervention during HNC treatment (75%), and use of maintenance programs post-treatment (97%). No group consensus was observed for use of pre-treatment swallow evaluations, frequency of service provision, or content of therapy sessions. Variation in clinical decision-making was noted in use of prophylactic feeding tubes and number of patients taking nothing by mouth during treatment. No associations were found between years of experience and decision-making practices, nor were any associations found between practice setting and clinical decision making.
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