Course Preview

  • Occupational Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy Assistants
Hours: 4 Contact Hours
Author(s): Marcia Cox, MHS, OTR/L, SCFES
Peer Reviewer(s): Pamela Roberts, PhD, MSHA, OTR/L, SCFES, FAOTA, CPHQ, FNAP
Item#: I6372
Contents: 1 Course Book (112 pages)
Sign up for the Western Schools 365 Online Membership

Dysphagia in Older Adults: Current Evaluation and Treatment Approaches

Price $39.95
Item # I6372
When available, the Online Course format is included with the hard copy, eBook, or audio book formats!

Release Date: March 22, 2016

Expiration Date: March 22, 2019

Dysphagia, a disorder of eating and swallowing is a rapidly emerging problem within medical, international and national public healthcare institutions. Healthcare practitioners encounter clients distraught over the inability to eat and swallow. These clients may experience anxiety in coughing and choking when attempting to take a sip of fluid, eat a piece of bread, or ingest medication. The clients may indeed be at risk for aspiration, possibly leading to pneumonia, as well as being at higher risk for dehydration and malnutrition, leading to debilitation and illness. Families are frequently at a loss for how to help their loved one eat to “gain weight” and “recover” from an illness.

In the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, dysphagia was linked with acute and chronic medical, pulmonary, and neurologic disorders. Sequelae of dysphagia, such as malnutrition and debilitation, take a toll on individuals’ health and related health care costs. Dysphagia is pervasive in the adult and aging populations, and associated with a wide variety of diseases and disorders. Clients with dysphagia face significant health and psychosocial challenges inherent in a swallowing disorder. Occupational therapists are in a unique position to intervene with this population. Clients with dysphagia receive care at home, in clinics and hospitals, and in rehabilitation or extended care facilities. 

This intermediate-level course is designed to provide occupational therapy practitioners with the most current information and evidence from best practice to advance holistic treatment addressing the needs of their clients with dysphagia. Additionally, this course presents information on several validated screening and outcome measures for early detection of signs and symptoms, and for documentation of client improvements. By increasing their knowledge of the characteristics of swallowing disorders, their use of clinical and/or instrumental assessments and their ability to implement a holistic treatment approach, clinicians can improve the quality of life for clients with dysphagia and their families.


AOTA Content Focus - Occupational Therapy Process: Evaluation, Intervention, Outcomes





Course Objectives

  • Describe the prevalence, causes, and consequences of dysphagia
  • Describe the anatomic, sensory, and motor components of normal swallowing
  • Identify neurologic, medical, and age-related characteristics of dysphagia
  • Describe the clinical and functional assessment of dysphagia
  • Identify occupational therapy approaches to treating clients who have dysphagia
  • Identify tools used to measure treatment outcomes for dysphagia


Marcia Cox, MHS, OTR/L, SCFES, is a clinical specialist in outpatient neurorehabilitation and feeding, eating, and swallowing at Kettering Medical Center and the NeuroRehab & Balance Center, both in Kettering, Ohio. Her career has focused on program development and education of occupational therapists in the areas of feeding, eating, and swallowing and in stroke rehabilitation. She received a bachelor of science degree in occupational therapy from the University of Kansas in 1972 and a master’s degree in health science from the University of Indianapolis in 2001. Ms. Cox has served on panels for both the development and revision of the American Occupational Therapy Association Board for Advanced and Specialty Certification (BASC) Feeding, Eating and Swallowing Specialty Certification. She has served as a reviewer for candidates for the Feeding, Eating and Swallowing specialty certification. Ms. Cox has been a guest lecturer and adjunct faculty member for occupational therapy programs in Ohio and Indiana in the area of feeding, eating, and swallowing.


Pamela Roberts, PhD, MSHA, OTR/L, SCFES, FAOTA, CPHQ, FNAP, is the director and a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and neuropsychology and the director of academics and physician informatics at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. She is also the senior director for quality, outcomes, and research at the California Rehabilitation Institute. Dr. Roberts earned her occupational therapy degree at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri; her master of science degree in health administration from California State University at Northridge; and her PhD in health sciences from Touro University. During the course of her career, Dr. Roberts has worked throughout the continuum of care as a clinician, administrator, educator, and researcher. Dr. Roberts was involved in the development of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) specialty certification program, including receiving her AOTA specialty certification in Feeding, Eating and Swallowing. She also has certification in Advanced Practice in Swallowing through the California Board of Occupational Therapy. Dr. Roberts has also been an author on a number of dysphagia publications. Dr. Roberts’s research and scholarship include serving as principal investigator and coinvestigator on a variety of research projects, and she has provided numerous workshops and consultations on rehabilitation, dysphagia, informatics, and health services research topics regionally, nationally, and internationally.

  • Courses must be completed on or before the expiration date noted in the course description above.
  • You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course and receive a certificate of completion
  • Through our review processes, Western Schools ensures that the course content is presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and is free from commercial influence. It is Western Schools’ policy not to accept commercial support
  • All persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content
  • There are no prerequisites for this course