Swallow Screen and Assessment

Swallow Screen and Assessment
The Swallow Screen and Assessment online course is part of three interrelated courses on dysphagia created by Dietitians of Canada. The other two courses are Professional Practice in Dysphagia Management and Nutrition Care Process for Dysphagia.

This course describes what is involved in the swallow screen and clinical swallowing assessment process. It provides a framework that will enable practitioners to apply a critical thinking approach to screening adult clients who are having difficulty swallowing.

The primary goals of the course are to:

  1. Enhance the knowledge and skills of the registered dietitian in dysphagia screening and clinical assessment and use of related protocols in collaboration with other health care professionals.
  2. Identify and explain common issues relevant to dysphagia screening and assessment.
  3. Strengthen the role of the registered dietitian and their communications with other health disciplines to improve care of the client with dysphagia.

At the completion of this course, participants should be able to:
  • Describe the basic anatomy and physiology of normal swallowing.
  • Be able to recognize and classify the different types of dysphagia.
  • List warning signs that alert health care professionals to the presence of dysphagia.
  • Know the disease/diagnosis related risk factors that cause/contribute to dysphagia and their warning signs.
  • Summarize factors in a client's medical history that are pertinent to swallow function.
  • Describe key components of a subjective interview that are pertinent to swallow function.
  • List pertinent questions to ask in order to fully describe dysphagia symptoms.
  • Describe the components of a comprehensive swallow screen.
  • Describe the components of a comprehensive clinical swallowing assessment.

Course content includes medical chart review; subjective interview, swallow screen protocol, mealtime observation, physical head and neck examination; and food and beverage trials used to determine swallow function and deficits. The course includes opportunities for critical reflection, decision-making, and testing to deepen the registered dietitian's knowledge and skill areas as identified in the updated Dietitians of Canada (DC) role paper: Defining the Role of the Dietitian in Dysphagia Assessment and Management.

Course content has been created with extensive input from experienced dietetic practitioners and educators, and other health professionals from the fields of pharmacy and rehabilitation therapy. The content is tied to the Integrated Competencies for Dietetic Education and Practice (ICDEP) and the Competencies for Dysphagia Assessment and Management in Dietetic Practice released January 2017. Together, these courses provide the necessary theoretical and didactic grounding for professional practice, and prepares the learner for hands-on or blended learning opportunities in dysphagia care.

This program has been created with extensive input from dietetic practitioners and dietetic regulatory bodies. Dietitians of Canada gratefully acknowledges an unrestricted educational grant from Nestlé Health Sciences. The grant supported the development of multimedia features of the course.

Your purchase entitles you to unlimited access to course materials for 90 days from the date you register. Extensions will not be granted. It is estimated that the course will take 5 - 6 hours to complete.
For details on how to register groups of students and interns, contact contactus@dietitians.ca.

Last Updated: May 3, 2017