This issue of Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation is a continuation of the previous issue focused on dysphagia in older adults, the exploration of contemporary rehabilitation issues involving professionals and older patients, and the wide range of health issues that can impact on swallowing and eating. McCullough and colleagues present a large body of research data related to normal swallowing parameters in adults ranging in age from 21 to 100 on various consistencies and bolus sizes. Bender addresses another timely issue, the relationship of esophageal dysfunction to swallowing complaints and the manner in which these referrals to speech-language pathologists should be addressed. Steele et al describe a research project in which they gathered qualitative data on the insights of individuals feeding patients with swallowing disorders in a long-term care setting. McCullough et al discuss the interaction of registered nurses and speech-language pathologists and the degree of compliance with swallowing recommendations among a set of acute care registered nurses. Suiter and Leder provide a current review of the literature related to swallowing disorders associated with or complicated by tracheostomy and pulmonary complications. The relationships with age and overall health status are explored.
Lastly, I provide a review of literature related to quality of life and how this may be affected by dysphagia in older adults with neurological disorders and head and neck cancer. Hopefully, these two issues, which focus on swallowing disorders in the older population, have provided a solid background in basic assessment and treatment, current practices, and roles of rehabilitation professionals with this population. The goal of this collection of articles has been to define roles of team members and provide practical ways each member of the rehabilitation team can participate in intervention and planning for individuals with dysphagia.
Lori A. Davis, EdD, CCC-SLP
Issue Editor© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.