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Understanding Dysphagia Care in Pakistan: A Survey of Current Speech Language Therapy Practice

Akhtar, R., Behn, N. ORCID: 0000-0001-9356-9957 & Morgan, S. ORCID: 0000-0002-7573-4290 (2023). Understanding Dysphagia Care in Pakistan: A Survey of Current Speech Language Therapy Practice. Dysphagia, 39(3), pp. 484-494. doi: 10.1007/s00455-023-10633-7


Dysphagia affects individuals across all ages and has pervasive and potentially life-threatening consequences. Individuals with dysphagia are assessed and treated by speech and language therapists (SLTs), however, little attention has been paid to their practices in Pakistan. This study aimed to explore SLTs practices for dysphagia assessment, signs and symptoms observed during evaluation, and management strategies, alongside barriers and facilitators to service delivery in Pakistan. A 45-item survey was distributed to SLTs online. Responses were received from 101 participants and analysed descriptively, and open-text responses were analysed using content analysis. Results revealed that 65.3% SLTs worked across the lifespan, and most (79.4%) had dysphagia-related experience of five years or less. SLTs were an active workforce engaged with varying ages, disorders, and settings, yet dysphagia contributed to a small caseload percentage for most. Analyses found informal clinical exams were more frequently used than instrumental assessments. A variety of service provision facilitators were described, such as supportive teams and accessible resources, and responses about barriers revealed gaps in awareness, education, and guidance. This exploratory study presents novel and unexplored data which provides a deeper understanding of dysphagia-related care in Pakistan.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Publisher Keywords: low-and middle-income countries, speech language therapy, swallowing disorders, feeding, dysphagia, eating and drinking
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
SWORD Depositor:
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