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About Karen Sheffler

Karen graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1995 with her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology. She obtained her BCS-S (Board Certification in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders) in 2012. She is a member of the Dysphagia Research Society and ASHA's Special Interest Group 13. Karen has over 23 years of experience in medical-speech pathology, starting in skilled nursing facilities and rehabilitation centers in the mid 1990's, and working in acute-care since 1999. Karen is also the founder of SwallowStudy.com. This website provides a dysphagia resource for professionals and people with difficulty swallowing, with a blog, helpful links, handouts, literature reviews, product reviews, and more.
Visit the SwallowStudy.com website  

See Articles Karen Has Written For MedBridge
Pneumonia Alphabet Soup: Reworking the Recipes (Part 1)
Pneumonia Alphabet Soup (Part 2): The Secret Ingredients
Good Evaluations Guide Treatment (Part 2): The Clinical Examination and Scope of Practice
Good Evaluations Guide Treatment: What Are We Doing Wrong?

Featured Dysphagia Courses

Reframing Dysphagia Documentation With a Person-Centered Approach
presented by Karen Sheffler & Yvette McCoy

Video Runtime: 99 Minutes; Learning Assessment Time: 44 Minutes

How we document has a profound influence on people with dysphagia (and their family/caregivers). Practicing and documenting in a person-centered care (PCC) approach shifts the focus away from the traditional medical model and moves toward personal choice and autonomy for people and their families. The individuals we serve are people before patients. This session will discuss how prudent and effective interdisciplinary documentation across the continuum of care can help delineate a person’s wishes. Thorough documentation also describes underlying swallow pathophysiology, guides differential diagnosis, and provides a prescriptive therapy program that meets the goals of care of the person. Good collaboration and communication are the keys to providing care in a person-centered approach. Attendees will discover how this shared decision-making approach requires increased detail in documentation. Presenters will discuss the process of obtaining informed consent, which not only protects a healthcare provider in litigation, but also makes sure that the person arrives at their informed decisions voluntarily and without coercion. Learn more

Introduction to Critical Care for Speech Language Pathologists
presented by Martin B. Brodsky

Do you think that you’re up for the challenge of being a speech language pathologist in critical care? Once familiar, the intensive care unit (ICU) quickly becomes an intriguing, albeit demanding and fast-paced environment frequently filled the most challenging patients in the hospital. Participants in this course will compare and contrast various hospital ward and ICU patient rooms, and be provided with a broad overview of the impact and consequences of critical care on patients. Dr. Brodsky provides suggestions that will make for more efficient patient contact time and methods for improved communication with medical personnel will also be provided. In addition to directly affecting the improvement of the patient’s overall condition by addressing speech, language, voice, and swallowing issues, speech-language pathologists play an important role in communication between the patient, caregivers, and family, and friends. Learn more

Dysphagia Therapy: Prevention, Compensation, Rehabilitation
presented by Michael Crary

Video Runtime: 120 Minutes; Learning Assessment Runtime: 36 Minutes

Effective strategies employed in the management of swallowing dysfunction in adult populations involve compensations, rehabilitation and prevention. Recognizing the appropriate domain of intervention and utilizing the appropriate tools within each category are vitally important. This course provides an overview of these domains of intervention and defines principles and rationale for food and liquid modifications. Dr. Crary describes the various maneuvers and postural adjustments that are employed in therapy and discusses the role of oromotor exercises in dysphagia treatment with emphasis on principles of motor learning and exercise.

For students interested in learning more about the future of swallowing evaluation and treatment, consider attending the Florida Dysphagia Institute 2.0 - a week long course featuring Dr. Michael Crary and Dr. Giselle Carnaby. The course takes place in Orlando, FL, and includes 32 Hours of CEUs with practical application, exhibitors and receptions. For more information visit the course WEBSITE or download the course BROCHURE. Learn more

Pharyngo-Esophageal Relationships
presented by Michael Groher

Video Runtime: 42 Minutes; Learning Assessment Time: 9 Minutes

This course explores the complex relationship between the pharynx and lower esophageal regions. The participant will be introduced to esophageal disorders that may impact the evaluation procedures for disorders of the upper esophageal sphincter (UES). The participant will also develop the skills to differentiate between esophageal disorders that can affect the UES, and apply their knowledge in an interactive case activity. This is the second course in a four course series by Dr. Groher. Please make sure to watch:

Disorders of the Esophagus for the Speech-Language Pathologist
Treatment Approaches to Upper Esophageal Sphincter Disorders

Learn more

Understanding the Events of Swallowing in Normal and Disordered Adults: A Research-Based Course
presented by Ianessa Humbert

This course will be retired and no longer available as of January 11, 2022. Please complete the course by December 31, 2021, to receive credit.

This course, with Dr. Ianessa Humbert, offers an in depth assessment of six important swallowing events: triggering the swallow, posterior lingual propulsion, velar elevation, pharyngeal constriction and elevation, laryngeal vestibule closure, and upper esophageal sphincter opening. For each swallowing event, normal and abnormal movements and/or sensation are described, and probing strategies are discussed (i.e. modifying the event with bolus volume, head position, swallowing maneuvers). The information presented is based in research literature, including full citations for further review. This course shows each swallowing event using a combination of representative video fluoroscopic studies and anatomical animations of each abnormal swallowing event. Learn more

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We believe education is the most powerful way to improve outcomes. With access to the highest quality continuing education, patient education, and home exercise programs, MedBridge gives you and your patients the tools needed to improve clinical outcomes.

Earn all your CEUs in One Place

We provide the highest quality online education for SLPs taught by industry-leading professionals. Our evidence-based video courses provide a convenient, cost-effective solution to expand your knowledge, better serve your patients and students, and advance your career.

  • A growing library of over 600 accredited courses and live webinars covering multiple specialties and settings, including schools and SNFs
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Increase Patient Engagement

Engage your students or patients in their own recovery. Our easy-to-build home exercise programs are an extension of your practice in the home, and an ideal way to involve family members with treatment. Give your patients the tools they need to stay disciplined and get better faster.

  • Evidence-based education covering pediatric and adult specialties across multiple settings
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  • HIPAA-compliant online patient portal, mobile app, patient satisfaction surveys, and tools for easy documentation in your EMR

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Thousands of SLPs Improve Lives With MedBridge

Julie Wring, MA, CCC-SLP

“I trust MedBridge to offer me interesting, high-quality courses that are timely and relevant to my everyday experiences.”

Julie Wring, MA, CCC-SLP

Michele Morton, MS, CCC-SLP

“The dysphagia course (The Normal Swallow) I viewed has proven to be a useful resource in my particular setting. It was a great refresher on what's normal for different diagnosis' and age groups, as well as identifying other important information, such as labs. Thanks for providing an avenue for learning that's both convenient and informative!”

Michele Morton, MS, CCC-SLP,
Trinity Mother Frances Rehabilitation Hospital

Elizabeth Steffen, SLP

“MedBridge is an excellent tool for therapists as it provides clear connection between information and practical application.”

Elizabeth Steffen, SLP,

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