Exploring the factors affecting speech and language therapists' decision to transition from oral to nonoral feeding in patients with dysphagia: A qualitative study

Uysal H. T., Tanrıverdi M., Kavakcı M.

11th European Congress of Speech and Language Therapy, Salzburg, Austria, 26 - 28 May 2022

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Salzburg
  • Country: Austria
  • Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University Affiliated: Yes


Bakcground: Considerations of speech and language therapists (SLTs) that assist in oral/non-oral feeding decisions in patients with dysphagia include bedside/clinical/instrumental assessment and patient anamnesis. Deciding to put a patient on a non-oral diet is stressful and challenging for SLTs.


Objectives: The aim of this study is to explore the factors affecting the decision of SLTs who have experience in making decisions about non-oral feeding.


Methods: Semi-structured qualitative interviews were administered to 9 SLTs working in different hospitals and with various case groups. Data were collected online and face-to-face. Field notes were taken and transcriptions were approved by the participants. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis. A researcher out of the study coded a randomly selected interview transcription for trustworthiness. MAXQDA Software was used to encode the data.


Results: Seven themes (Factors Affecting Patients, Factors Affecting SLT, Evaluation, Communication with Other Experts, Decision Making, Patient Information, Therapeutic Process) were determined. Thirty-four sub-categories were created under the main themes. In the process of making a decision, SLTs detailed the critical evaluation of patients with dysphagia, the medical history of patients, and the follow-up process as well as positive and negative effects that occur in them. Quality of life and awareness of psychological effects in patients after non-oral decisions were noted. It was observed that the non-oral feeding decision can be modified over time. The follow-up period is also important.


Conclusions: Results of the study support that SLTs give weight to the factors affecting the patients in the transition from oral feeding to non-oral feeding decision. The importance of evaluation, factors affecting SLTs’ communication with other experts are among the components that can affect this decision. The non-oral feeding decision of SLTs is made as a result of a multidimensional synthesis.