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Dysphagia in Patients at the End of Life

Dysphagia in Patients at the End of Life
Angela Mansolillo, M.A., CCC-SLP, BRS-S
April 4, 2013
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 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.


angela mansolillo

Angela Mansolillo, M.A., CCC-SLP, BRS-S

Angela Mansolillo, M.A., CCC-SLP,BRS-S is a Speech-Language Pathologist and Board Recognized Specialist in Swallowing Disorders with over 20 years of experience. She is currently a senior Speech-Language Pathologist at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, Massachusetts where she provides evaluation and treatment services for adults and children with dysphagia and is involved in program planning and development for inpatient and outpatient programming including quality improvement initiatives, patient education, and clinical policies and protocols.  In addition, she is an adjunct faculty member at Elms College Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders in Chicopee, Massachusetts.  Over the course of her career, she has worked in a variety of clinical settings, provided numerous regional and national presentations, and lectured at several colleges and universities throughout Massachusetts. 

Ms. Mansolillo received her Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from Rhode Island College in 1983 and earned her Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology in 1985 from the University of Connecticut. She is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing association and is a member of Special Interest Division 13, which focuses on swallowing and swallowing disorders.



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