Dysphagia – New Online CE Course

By Doreen Rodo, MeD, RDN, LD

Dysphagia: The Team Approach to Best PracticeDysphagia: The Team Approach to Best Practice is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE) course that focuses on the interdisciplinary team approach to identifying, treating and managing dysphagia.

CE Credit: 1 Hour
Target Audience: Social Workers | Occupational Therapists (OTs) | Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)
Learning Level: Introductory
Course Type: Online

Dysphagia is a wide spread problem in the elderly, with many going untreated. Older adults are at an increased risk due to having many factors that lead to swallowing difficulties. Some of these are a diagnosis of stroke, dementia, pneumonia and Parkinson’s disease. Many have generalized weakness and comorbidities that also contribute to a reduced swallowing response. The decreased ability to swallow can lead to other complications, but the largest concerns are with dehydration, weight loss and malnutrition.

This course was developed to assist the interdisciplinary team [Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP), Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Occupational Therapist (OT) and Social Worker] in the management of dysphagia. Topics covered include the swallowing process, types of dysphagia, risk factors, signs and symptoms, how dysphagia affects the body, screening and assessment, roles of the interdisciplinary team, nutrition, and treatment options (National Dysphagia Diet, thickened liquids, free water, and rehabilitative strategies). Course #11-01 | 2016 | 23 pages | 10 posttest questions

Click here to learn more.


1. Differentiate between the three types of dysphagia
2. List five conditions that may cause dysphagia and five symptoms of dysphagia
3. Identify the roles of the interdisciplinary team members integral to the treatment of dysphagia
4. Describe five interventions used in the treatment of dysphagia


Professional Development Resources is approved by Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Dietetics & Nutrition, Occupational Therapy Practice, and is CE Broker compliant (#50-1635); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).


This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. After enrolling, click on My Account and scroll down to My Active Courses. From here you’ll see links to download/print the course materials and take the CE test (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document). Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more.


Doreen Rodo, MEd, RDN, LD, obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in Dietetics from the State University of New York, College at Buffalo. She completed her internship at the University of Connecticut in conjunction with Hartford Hospital. Recently, she earned a Master’s Degree in Nutrition Education from Framingham State University. She has over twenty-five years of long-term care experience and has worked as a food safety auditor, public health dietitian, and a Servsafe food safety teacher. Doreen is a professional mentor for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and assists students with applying for internships and finding rotations. She currently works as a nutrition consultant for hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and also writes coursework for healthcare professionals.

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Dysphagia Guide Updated for ASHA CEUs

Do you work with dysphagic residents? If so, this newly revised course is for you!

Dysphagia: Guide to Establishing a Restorative Mealtime ProgramDysphagia: Guide to Establishing a Restorative Mealtime Program is a 2-hour online CEU course that will enable therapists in long-term care or post-acute rehabilitation facilities to present staff training that offers strategies and techniques for implementing a Restorative Mealtime Program (RMP). The purposes of such a program are to make dining safe and enjoyable, to increase resident independence at mealtimes, and to create a mechanism for monitoring declining abilities as disease processes progress. Also included are descriptions of dysphagic indicators, lists of aspiration precautions, methods for ascertaining needed levels of assistance, case studies, and a method for monitoring adherence to swallow safety standards. The author includes useful forms, checklists, and diagrams with limited permission for course participants to reproduce handouts for their own use in daily practice. Course #20-26 | 2013 | 37 pages | 20 posttest questions

CE Information:

ASHA Approved Provider

This course is offered for .2 ASHA CEUs (Introductory level, Professional area).

ASHA credit expires 7/11/2016. ASHA CEUs are awarded by the ASHA CE Registry upon receipt of the quarterly completion report from the ASHA Approved CE Provider. Please note that the completion date that appears on ASHA transcripts is the last day of the quarter regardless of when the course was completed. AAUM #5097

About the Author:

Jill E. Day, MS, CCC/SLP, earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Communication Disorders from Fontbonne University in Clayton, Missouri. For the last sixteen years she has treated speech, language, and swallowing disorders in pediatric through geriatric populations. She obtained intense dysphagic experience in long term care, and acute and post acute rehabilitation settings during ten years of work in the field of speech-language pathology. Six years have been spent treating pediatric clients within their homes or schools, and in a clinic-based setting. Currently, she works full-time contracting with local school districts to provide speech and language services, as well as with the Missouri First Steps program for birth to three year old children. Jill resides in Dardenne Prairie, Missouri and has been blessed with a supportive husband and two wonderful children. In her spare time, she enjoys interacting with her family, writing to share her experiences with others, and sewing home décor items. Jill went into the field of speech-language pathology “to make a difference in the lives of others” and feels privileged to serve the needs of her clients. Dysphagia: A Guide to Establishing a Restorative Mealtime Program is dedicated to her family, who endured months of manuscript writing and to her mother who always inspired her to “do the best” in all she did.

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Dysphagia – Overview & Helpful Handouts

Source: RD411.com

Dysphagia: What Is Dysphagia?

I recently was diagnosed with dysphagia. What does that mean?

dysphagiaDysphagia means difficulty swallowing. Often people complain that food “gets stuck” in the throat. This leads to a diagnosis of dysphagia.

Swallowing is a complex process that involves more than 50 pairs of muscles and many nerves. Food is moved from the mouth to the stomach in three stages. In the first stage, food is prepared for swallowing as it is moved around the mouth by the tongue. The second stage begins when the tongue pushes food or liquid to the back of the mouth. The third stage begins when food or liquid enters the esophagus. Dysphagia can occur in any of these three stages.

What causes dysphagia?

Some people are born with swallowing problems, but in many cases they develop as a result of a physical illness or medical condition. Dysphagia has many causes, including stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, other neurological disorders, and muscular disorders, such as myasthenia gravis or muscular dystrophy. Cancers of the head, neck, and mouth and/or cancer treatment also may cause dysphagia.

Why should I worry about dysphagia?

In some people, dysphagia is serious. If you are unable to consume enough food and fluids to stay healthy because you cannot swallow, weight loss or nutritional problems can result. In the worst cases, dysphagia can result in aspiration pneumonia. This occurs when food enters the lungs instead of the esophagus, causing bacterial infection, pneumonia, and occasionally death.

How is dysphagia treated?

Speech and language pathologists are skilled at using medical tests to determine the scope and severity of dysphagia. In some cases, dysphagia is treated with surgery or medication. In others, treatment might involve muscle exercises or using special eating techniques. Some patients must change the texture of the foods and fluids they eat to make swallowing easier. When dysphagia is severe, eating and drinking orally is not recommended. In these cases, providing nutrition via a feeding tube is recommended.

A speech and language pathologist can determine what course of treatment is best for you.

What types of fluid modifications are recommended for dysphagia treatment?

Sometimes when a person has dysphagia, it is necessary to thicken liquids to make swallowing them easier. Liquids are thickened to the consistency of honey, nectar (such as apricot nectar), or pudding. If thickened liquids are recommended, it is necessary to have every liquid consumed, including water, coffee, juices, and milk, of the recommended consistency.

How are liquids thickened?

Speech and language pathologists recommend using a commercial thickener, which is a powder that is mixed into beverages to thicken them. Many health care facilities purchase prethickened water, milk, coffee, and juice to take the guesswork out of thickening fluids. For home use, you can purchase thickening powder at drug stores.

What types of texture modifications are recommended for foods?

The National Dysphagia Diet recommends three levels—dysphagia pureed, dysphagia mechanically altered, and dysphagia advanced.

Dysphagia pureed diet: Foods are pureed and homogenous, with all foods, including meats, vegetables, and breads, of pudding-like consistency.

Dysphagia mechanically altered diet: Foods that are moist, soft textured, and easily formed into a food bolus for swallowing are allowed. Foods are well cooked and soft. Meats are ground or minced.

The dysphagia advanced diet: Foods are of nearly regular texture, but very hard, sticky, or crunchy foods are not included.

A registered dietitian or speech-language pathologist can provide specific information about what foods are allowed on each diet.

Helpful Handouts:

Dysphagia: Scoop It, Mold It, Pipe It—Rice and Pasta

Dysphagia Level 1 Diet (dysphagia pureed)

Dysphagia Level 2 Diet (mechanically altered)

Dysphagia Level 3 Diet (dysphagia advanced)

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