Purpose: Speech-language pathologists’ (SLPs) role in tracheostomy management is well described internationally. Surveys from Australia and the United Kingdom show high clinical consistency in SLP tracheostomy management, and that practice follows guidelines, research evidence and protocols. Swedish SLPs work with tracheostomised patients, however, the content and extent of this practice, and how it compares to international research is unknown. This study reports how SLPs in Sweden work with tracheostomised patients, investigating (a) the differences and similarities in SLPs tracheostomy management and (b) the facilitators and barriers to tracheostomy management, as reported by SLPs. Methods: A study-specific, online questionnaire was completed by 28 SLPs who had managed tracheostomised patients during the previous year. This study was conducted in 2018, pre Covid-19 pandemic. The answers were analysed for exploratory descriptive comparison of data. Content analyses were made on answers from open-ended questions. Results: Swedish SLPs manage tracheostomised patients, both for dysphagia and communication. During this study, the use of protocols and guidelines were limited and SLPs were often not part of a tracheostomy team. Speech-language pathologists reported that the biggest challenges in tracheostomy management were in (a) collaboration with other professionals, (b) unclear roles and (c) self-perceived inexperience. Improved collaboration with other professionals and clearer roles was suggested to facilitate team tracheostomy management. Conclusions: This study provides insight into SLP tracheostomy management in Sweden, previously uncharted. Results suggest improved collaboration, further education and clinical training as beneficial for a clearer and more involved SLP role in tracheostomy management.
- Övrig annan medicin och hälsovetenskap