Authors: Malandraki GA, Arkenberg RH, Mitchell SS, Malandraki JB
Title: Telehealth for Dysphagia Across the Life Span: Using Contemporary Evidence and Expertise to Guide Clinical Practice During and After COVID-19
Source: American Journal of Speech Language Pathology 2021 30(2): 532-550
Year: 2021
Research Design: Systematic Review

Purpose: Our aim was to critically review recent literature on the use of telehealth for dysphagia during the COVID-19 pandemic and enhance this information in order to provide evidence- and practice-based clinical guidance during and after the pandemic. Method: We conducted a rapid systematized review to identify telehealth adaptations during COVID-19, according to peer-reviewed articles published from January to August 2020. Of the 40 articles identified, 11 met the inclusion criteria. Full-text reviews were completed by three raters, followed by qualitative synthesis of the results and description of practical recommendations for the use of telehealth for dysphagia. Results: Seven articles were guidelines articles, three were editorials, and one was a narrative review. One article focused on telehealth and dysphagia during COVID-19. The remaining 10 mentioned telehealth in varying degrees while focusing on dysphagia management during the pandemic. No articles discussed pediatrics in depth. The most common procedure for which telehealth was recommended was the clinical swallowing assessment (8/11), followed by therapy (7/11). Six articles characterized telehealth as a second-tier service delivery option. Only one article included brief guidance on telehealth-specific factors, such as legal safeguards, safety, privacy, infrastructure, and facilitators. Conclusions: Literature published during the pandemic on telehealth for dysphagia is extremely limited and guarded in endorsing telehealth as an equivalent service delivery model. We have presented prepandemic and emerging current evidence for the safety and reliability of dysphagia telemanagement, in combination with practical guidelines to facilitate the safe adoption of telehealth during and after the pandemic.

Access: Open Access