KARACHI: The Ziauddin College of Speech-Language and Hearing Sciences (ZCSLHS) organized a 5-day hands-on training workshop for speech-language therapists, in Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation for Swallow (FEES).
The workshop was led by a team of SA Swallowing Services, including renowned expert trainers in the field of speech-language and swallowing disorders, aimed to spread awareness about FEES and providing knowledge about advanced technologies in the field of medicine.
During the training session elaborating about clinical services using the FEES procedures, Dr Matthew G Ward, MS, CCC-SLP, SA Swallowing Services, PLLC, Nashville, Tennessee, USA, said that (FEES) is an instrumental assessment and the gold standard for the evaluation of swallowing disorders or dysphagia. With the help of FEES, the speech-language therapist can view the laryngeal vestibule directly, to ascertain any impairment in the laryngeal phase of swallow, while having the patient eat and drink different consistencies of food as the procedure is being performed. Individuals present with dysphagia after having a stroke, accident, and tumors. Patients of Parkinsonism, Alzheimer’s Disease, or dementia also present with the disorder as well.
“By replacing heavy machinery with a portable system, we have introduced a new treatment criterion, and it is the start of a change in the field of medicine. It will be more convenient for doctors to assess their patients and to find out swallowing disorders,” said Prof Dr Michelle L Skelley, MEd, CCC-SLP, SA Swallowing Services, PLLC, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.
“Those who do not have access to quality treatment deserve help. People in Pakistan are already receiving excellent training, but this particular session is extraordinary. This highly technical training stresses the need for special care to the people of Pakistan,” she added.
Stressing over the number of people suffering from swallowing difficulty in rural areas, Prof Dr John R Ashford, PhD, CCC-SLP, SA Swallowing Services, PLLC, Nashville, Tennessee, USA. “In rural areas, some people are not very informed about speech-language problems and swallowing disorders. So if the main dilemma is hidden from the patient himself, it would be more complicated for the therapist too.
Educating people about swallowing disorders is very important. If people in rural areas do not have access to good training and well-trained instructors, they may not be able to enjoy a good quality of life. If they are unable to swallow properly, they will lose weight, fall victim to sickness, and not be able to speak properly. Basically, they would be missing out on everything that others can do in their daily life. The whole idea of organizing this workshop is to help people through therapy.”
“People with swallowing disorders do not get any attention in Pakistan. Patients do not even have any idea they are suffering from swallowing disorders. We, speech and language therapists, provide our services to patients. We treat them, assess them, and recommend them to get checked themselves through proper testing. We are giving training about (FEES) to participants from Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, and Dubai. We need to introduce speech-language therapy in our country on a larger scale. At present, only the private sector is working for speech and language therapy. We need thousands of trainers to attend to a plethora of disorders such as this one. We have a lot of patients, and it is impossible to cope up with all of them at the same time, so we need all the help we can get,” said Amina Siddiqui, Principle of ZCSLHS.