Food for Thought: The Impact of Dysphagia on Quality of Life Dysphagia is a disorder with not only physical but also psychosocial and emotional consequences. While speech-language pathologists should be aware of and sensitive to this reality, our literature contains a paucity of studies exploring the experience of dysphagia from the perspective of patients and their caregivers. For this article, ... Viewpoint
Viewpoint  |   October 01, 2005
Food for Thought: The Impact of Dysphagia on Quality of Life
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Janice W. Bennett
    Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Catriona M. Steele
    Toronto Rehabilitation Institute Graduate Department of Speech-Language Pathology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Food for Thought
Viewpoint   |   October 01, 2005
Food for Thought: The Impact of Dysphagia on Quality of Life
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), October 2005, Vol. 14, 24-27. doi:10.1044/sasd14.3.24
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), October 2005, Vol. 14, 24-27. doi:10.1044/sasd14.3.24
Dysphagia is a disorder with not only physical but also psychosocial and emotional consequences. While speech-language pathologists should be aware of and sensitive to this reality, our literature contains a paucity of studies exploring the experience of dysphagia from the perspective of patients and their caregivers. For this article, we interviewed three individuals who have had significant dysphagia (all secondary to brainstem injury), as well as the mother of a fourth person, a young man with dysphagia resulting from brainstem injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. These interviews exposed the significant quality-of-life implications of dysphagia, with respondents devoting as much or more time to discussing the social, emotional, and psychological consequences of dysphagia than to describing nutritional or respiratory concerns. One person said that one year following the onset of his health crisis, the swallowing problem remains the biggest issue affecting his quality of life. The mother of the young man, who is also paraplegic, described his swallowing problem as “devastating to the point where it’s even difficult to describe” and asserted that dysphagia has affected her son’s quality of life even more than his inability to walk.
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