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UK Speech & Language Therapists working in school-aged children dysphagia practice. Impact of Covid19 on clinical practice: A survey

Morgan, S. ORCID: 0000-0002-7573-4290, Mulligan, K. ORCID: 0000-0002-6003-3029, Weir, K. & Hilari, K. ORCID: 0000-0003-2091-4849 (2021). UK Speech & Language Therapists working in school-aged children dysphagia practice. Impact of Covid19 on clinical practice: A survey. Poster presented at the 11th ESSD Congress, 4-6 Nov 2021, Online.

Abstract

Introduction
The Covid19 pandemic has impacted the clinical practice of UK Health Care Professionals. This abstract presents the impact on Speech & Language Therapists (SLTs) working with school-aged children with neurodisability and dysphagia, requiring mealtime assistance.

Methods
A survey exploring UK SLT clinical practice was developed utilising the research literature, recent relevant surveys and in consultation with an SLT advisory team and stakeholders. The final survey was piloted with 8 SLTs, and formal ethical approval received. It comprised 36 questions, focusing on demographic and caseload information, typical assessment and intervention practice and Covid19 adaptations (5 questions). Questions were a mixture of multiple choice and free text responses. The survey was disseminated using professional networks and social media, between 14th May-30th July 2021. Full data analysis is ongoing. Results Preliminary data analysis indicates over ninety SLT participants completed the survey’s Covid19 impact questions. Participants worked across all regions of the UK, were employed in different sectors (NHS, education, independent) and worked in acute, school and community settings. The vast majority agreed that Covid19 had impacted their dysphagia management of school-aged children. Factors reported to have had a negative impact on practice included: reduced home visiting, suboptimal family and professional telehealth access and skills, face mask use. Positive impacts included: professionals’ improved telehealth access and skills, increased focus on home vs. school meals, carers’ improved technology skills. Many SLTs identified a desire to take changes into future practice, including telehealth.

Conclusions
This work will describe the impact of the Covid19 pandemic on UK SLTs’ dysphagia practice with school-aged children. Positive changes identified included a will to maintain telehealth access and skills.

Publication Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR355 Virology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
Departments: School of Health Sciences > Language & Communication Science
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