Dysphagia Assessment and Treatment Network
The goal of the Dysphagia Assessment and Treatment Network is to help define, expand and secure the dietitian’s role in the assessment, management and treatment of dysphagia within the health care team and to promote sharing of expertise and resources to build capacity within Canadian Dietitians.
Dysphagia has significant potential to lead to decreased oral intake and malnutrition. As such, dietitians must have a good understanding of the dysphagia screening, assessment and treatment techniques. We should have a thorough understanding of medical conditions that are associated with swallow dysfunction, as well as iatrogenic causes of dysphagia. Dietitians need to know the signs and symptoms of dysphagia, and be able to identify those at risk in their client population. When patients/ residents etc… are considered to be at risk, dietitians should have the knowledge and skills required to competently complete a clinical bedside swallowing assessment in order to identify the specific swallowing issues and determine how they may best be able to manage these. If a dietitian has access to equipment for instrumental examination of swallowing, they should at the very least, participate in the swallowing assessment with other trained professionals. Dietitians also need to know best-practice strategies for managing swallowing dysfunction- safe swallowing strategies, texture modifications, swallowing exercises etc…
The Dysphagia Assessment and Treatment Network is intended to support Dietitians working in Dysphagia Management, by providing relevant, up-to-date, evidence- based information and resources. We have a wealth of dysphagia-related resources on the network website already, including swallow assessment reporting forms, oral hygiene best practices, dysphagia- presentation handouts, safe-swallowing strategies guidelines, texture modified products and recipes, and much, much more. We will continually add resources as they become available to us.
The Dysphagia Assessment and Treatment Network website is also a great forum for sharing information and asking clinical questions of those with more dysphagia experience. If you are new to the practice of dysphagia and are looking for support and mentorship, the DAT-Network website is a great place to start. Ask questions on our “Coast to coast” message board, acquire resources from our ever-growing number of “Files” and find Dietitians with Dysphagia expertise in your area by using the “Members” tab.
We look forward to having you as members of our Network.