The word “cancer” is often cloaked in feelings of uncertainty and fear – understandably so. But what can a medical SLP do to help? What’s our role in the world of oncology?

In this podcast episode, host Theresa Richard interviews Heather George about her experience as an SLP working with oncology patients and the role of palliative care in dysphagia management. They discuss the challenges of navigating treatment for patients with complex medical conditions, the importance of taking a holistic approach to patient care, and the need to address patient concerns and fears. They also touch on the difficulties of managing differing opinions among healthcare providers.

If you serve this population or hope to one day, this episode is for you.


[00:03:29] The role of palliative care in dysphagia management

[00:04:27] Understanding the differences between rehabilitation and palliative care

[00:06:53] Considering the medical status and prognosis in dysphagia management

[00:10:31] The multifactorial components of swallowing difficulties

[00:10:40] Highlighting the need to consider the patient's specific diagnosis and how it impacts their swallowing difficulties.

[00:13:09] Managing the dynamic between providers and dysphagia treatment

[00:20:32] Importance of reflecting on personal biases as clinicians and how it can influence communication with patients and physicians.

[00:21:37] The impact of presenting information in a fear-inducing manner and the importance of discussing risks and benefits in a balanced way.

[00:22:25] The speaker's personal experience of realizing the need to present both professional and personal perspectives when discussing treatment options with patients and their families.

[00:29:05] Understanding the Patient's Medical Condition

[00:30:06] Collaborating with the Medical Team

[00:32:16] Navigating Difficult Conversations

[00:38:20]Palliative Team Consultation

[00:39:42] Exploration of consulting the ethics department for added insight and evaluation in complex situations.

[00:40:43] Supporting Patients Transitioning to Hospice

[00:48:26] Being cognizant of language and writing in a more respectful and patient-centered way.

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