Authors: Rumbach AF, Ward EC, Cornwell PL, Bassett LV, Spermon ML, Plaza AL, Muller MJ
Title: Dysphagia rehabilitation after severe burn injury: An interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary collaborative
Source: Journal of Medical Speech Language Pathology 2011 19(1): 25-34
Year: 2011
Research Design: Single Case Design

Although dysphagia is a potential negative consequence of thermal burn injury, particularly if there is burn injury to the head and neck region, dysphagia management and the role of speech-language pathologists within the multidisciplinary burn care team is relatively new. This report describes the management of a 23-year-old man who presented with oropharyngeal dysphagia and contractures of the head and neck after sustaining 60.5% deep partial- and full-thickness burns. In addition to specific speech pathology interventions, dysphagia rehabilitation used a combination of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary management combining the specialized skills of speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, and physiotherapy disciplines to deliver a time-efficient and effective treatment regimen. By hospital discharge, the patient had returned to full oral intake on a normal diet and was without tracheostomy, and his maximal mouth range of motion had improved from 55 mm horizontal and 30 mm vertical to 60 mm and 40 mm, respectively. This case highlights the valuable contributions of all members of the multidisciplinary burn team in the process of dysphagia rehabilitation and demonstrates how discipline specific therapy goals can be further assisted by both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary practice to optimize dysphagia outcomes in this medically complex population.

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