This text-based course is a transcript of the seminar, “Dysphagia in Patients at the End of Life,” presented by Angela Mansolillo, M.A.CCC-SLP, BRS-S.
>>Angela Mansolillo: Today we are going to talk about managing swallowing disorders for those patients who are end-of-life and/or palliative care. We are going to talk a little bit about the differences and similarities between those two groups of patients as we go through the seminar today. This is not something that speech pathologists are usually trained for. We are rehabilitation professionals. We are used to thinking about how to make people better, not how to manage patients who are probably not going to get better and in all likelihood are going to get worse. It is not something we have a lot of experience with. It is also not something we have a good comfort level with because it is not something we do very often. When we do work with those patient populations, as you will see, there are some skills that we have that carryover and also a new skill set that we have to try to develop as we go through.
We have a number of learning objectives for today. We are going to talk about what does swallowing look like in the end-of-life patient, what does dying look like, what happens specifically to our bodies when we are actively dying, what is the role of the speech pathologist with those patients, tube feeding - which is often a big question in end-of-life and palliative care patients, and we are going to talk about the risks and benefits of tube feeding in that population. We will finish today by talking about some of the legal and ethical issues that come into play when we are working with patients who are at end-of-life.