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Introduction to the Assessment and Management of Dysphagia in ALS

presented by Kendrea L. (Focht) Garand, PhD, CScD, CCC-SLP, BCS-S

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Disclosure Statement:

The ALS Association Alabama Chapter receives compensation for this course.

Financial: Kendrea Garand received an honorarium as advisory board member and contributor to the content provided in this course from the ALS Association Alabama Chapter. Garand received a grant from the Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America and salary support from University of South Alabama. There is no other financial interest beyond the production of this course.

Nonfinancial: Kendrea Garand is a member of the Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS). She has no other competing nonfinancial interests or relationships with regard to the content presented in this course. She  

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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Video Runtime: 68 Minutes; Learning Assessment Time: 29 Minutes

Did you know that the majority of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) present with dysphagia, requiring an interdisciplinary approach to optimize patient care? This course material, presented by Dr. Garand, was designed with the primary purpose of sharing knowledge with clinicians who provide dysphagia clinical services for patients with ALS. Since ALS is a rare disease and standardized clinical practices are not yet available, this course will provide a comprehensive overview for how ALS impacts swallowing function and what evidence is currently available to guide management for dysphagia. Patient videos will be used to highlight impairments discussed, and specific management strategies will also be provided. This course was developed in collaboration with Drs. Emily Plowman and Debra Suiter. It is part of a three-course series on ALS. Please be sure to check out the other courses in this series:

Meet Your Instructor

Kendrea L. (Focht) Garand, PhD, CScD, CCC-SLP, BCS-S

Dr. Kendrea Garand is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology in the College of Allied Health Professions at the University of South Alabama. Further, she is the founder and director of the Swallowing Disorders Initiative Research Laboratory. She holds board certification in swallowing and swallowing disorders (BCS-S) and serves…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Impact of ALS on Swallowing Function

In the first chapter, Dr. Garand will review how ALS impacts swallowing function, as well as common signs and symptoms observed when dysphagia is present. An overview of key members of the interdisciplinary care team will be provided, including the role of the speech-language pathologist (SLP).

2. Assessment of Dysphagia in ALS

In the second chapter, best-practice guidelines for assessment of swallowing function will be presented, with each component examined more in depth using available evidence. Video excerpts from patients with ALS will be used to highlight impairments.

3. Management of Dysphagia in ALS

In this chapter, Dr. Garand will challenge the tradition of a “don’t touch” approach when managing dysphagia in ALS. She’ll present evidence-based strategies that push the clinician to take a proactive approach to dysphagia management, including review of compensatory strategies, emerging restorative strategies, and patient care education.

4. Additional Considerations

In the final course chapter, the importance of adequate nutrition, hydration, and oral hygiene for patients with ALS will be discussed, with special attention to impacts on survival and quality of life. Discussion will also include the role of a feeding tube, as well as adaptive equipment used to promote oral intake and oral care.

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