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Part 5: Ethical Considerations for Management of Swallowing Disorders

Part 5: Ethical Considerations for Management of Swallowing Disorders
Tammy Wigginton, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S
September 12, 2016
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Editor’s Note: This course is a written transcript of the webinar, Part 5: Ethical Considerations for Management of Swallowing Disorders, presented by Tammy Wigginton, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S.

Introduction and Learning Outcomes

I want to welcome everyone to the last part of our 5 parts series.  Today, I am going to discuss ethical considerations for the management of swallowing disorders. My disclosures include the following:

  • My salary is paid by the University of Kentucky
  • I am receiving an honorarium from SpeechPathology.com
  • I am a member of the American Board of Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders and the Dysphagia Research Society

The learning outcomes for today include: 

  • Naming 4 core principles of bioethics 
  • Naming the 3 requirements for the process of informed consent 
  • Identifying 2 strategies clinicians can use to facilitate development of ethical reasoning skills

Medical Ethics

Medical ethics is the study of moral values and actions as they apply to the care of patients. We use moral values typically to justify our decisions, intentions and actions, and to identify what's right versus what's wrong. Principles of medical ethics are typically divided into professional behavior and clinical care.

Professional Behavior

Speech pathologists, like other medical professionals, are credentialed by professional organizations at the national level, and frequently at the state level. Most of us have our ASHA Certification which is our National Credentialing Organization, and then we have our state licensure. I work in the state of Kentucky, so I have a code of ethics to follow from the state of Kentucky as well as the ASHA Code of Ethics.

Not only should we have an understanding of the code of ethics as it relates on the national level but we also need to understand the code of ethics at the state level. Facilities that we work in may also have a code of conduct, and then of course we also governed by federal statutes like rules for Medicare and Medicaid et cetera. 

Professional ethics, in the form of a code of ethics or code of conduct, addresses the organizational concept of what constitutes professional behavior. This is done to ensure that we're using professional conduct and ethical reasoning to protect our patients.

ASHA Code of Ethics

For our purposes I am going to discuss the ASHA codes, but if you're in another country there are codes that apply to you from that country. As of March 2016, our code of ethics has been updated and have some specific changes with regard to research that is evidence-based and independent clinical judgment, client abandonment, some technology changes, and then also some codes that more clearly define the way that we manage our professional conduct with other professionals, our interdisciplinary and disciplinary relationships.

Unlimited CEU Access - Join Now   to get the whole article and handouts.

tammy wigginton

Tammy Wigginton, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S

Ms. Wigginton earned her Master's Degree in Speech Language Pathology from Murray State University in 1991. She is a clinician at the University of Kentucky Voice and Swallow Clinic and has worked in academic medicine for over 14 years. Her areas of expertise include alaryngeal communication, evaluation and treatment of communication and swallowing disorders in head and neck cancer patients and neuro-voice and swallowing disorders. She has a special interest in medical bioethics as it relates to the care and treatment of patients with swallowing disorders and head and neck cancer. She previously served as a member of the University of Kentucky Medical Center's Hospital Ethics Committee.  She is a Board Certified Specialist in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders and a member of the Dysphagia Research Society.



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