There has been a steady increase in the number of people with swallowing, communication and cognitive disorders requiring palliative care. They require specialised, and complex care. This study tries to find out whether speech language pathologists are adequately trained to manage these patients. The authors used an online questionnaire to collect qualitative and quantitative data from Australian trained and practising speech language pathologists. Of the survey participants, 70% indicated that their training had prepared them inadequately to work with palliative care patients. Only 2% had received palliative care training and felt prepared to manage their patients. The authors suggest that exposure to real-life patients and placement in palliative care settings would help improve preparedness of trainees. This paper brings to the fore an important aspect about the role of speech language pathologists. It also highlights the necessity of adequately preparing them for managing patients with complex swallowing, cognitive and communication disorders. Formal training as part of their curriculum and post-training practical experience can help improve the confidence of speech language pathologists in palliative care rehabilitation. 

What is needed to prepare speech pathologists to work in adult palliative care?
Pascoe A, Breen LJ, Cocks N.
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Gauri Mankekar

Department of Otolaryngology-Head Neck Surgery, Louisiana State University Shreveport, Louisiana, USA.

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