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Swallowing difficulty, or dysphagia, is common for people with neurological conditions, head and neck cancer or after some surgeries or illnesses. Patients are referred to the Swallowing Clinic to undergo assessment of their swallowing for identification, management and treatment of dysphagia.
At the Swallowing Clinic, you will meet with a Speech Language Pathologist and a Registered Dietitian. They'll ask you questions about what you eat, test the muscles in your mouth and throat and watch you swallow. You may also have an x-ray of how you swallow, called a Videofluoroscopic Swallow Study. After the x-ray of how you swallow, the SLP and RD will show you the x-ray, review the results of assessments and may make some recommendations for you. The whole appointment takes about 2½ hours.
For some patients, the following tests may also be ordered:
The assessment involves watching you eat and drink different things. We have a variety of test foods in the Swallowing Clinic that we might use to assess your swallowing. If there are particular foods that you have difficulty swallowing, please bring samples to allow assessment.
Your first appointment can take 2 hours or more. Follow-up appointments usually take slightly less time, depending on the type of assessment needed, but can also be lengthy.
Learn more about what you can expect when you have a clinic appointment.
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Visit our Health Information section and find dedicated resources to help you understand your condition. Find the information you're looking for.
Speech-Language Pathologist: Sherry Darling
Dietitians:Debra MacGarvie Kathy Cohen Danielle Himel
Support: Myra Marron
You will be contacted with information about your first appointment.
Please bring the following to your appointment. Not all of these items may be needed for your appointment. Our clinic or your referring doctor will let you know what you must bring.
Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment.
When you arrive, you will sign in with the receptionist. You will need your health card (OHIP card) to sign-in. If you do not have an OHIP card, please bring another form of government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport.
You may be given a Measuring Health Equity Questionnaire to fill out. This form contains questions about your background. We collect this information to find out who we serve and what unique needs you may have. The form is voluntary and you can choose ‘prefer not to answer’ to any or all questions. However, the information you choose to give us will help us improve the quality of care for you and others.
First appointments take longer than follow-up appointments. Your first appointment can take 2 hours or more. Follow-up appointments usually take 15 to 30 minutes. We do everything we can to stay on time but sometimes unforeseen circumstances may delay your appointment.
At the end of your first appointment, the nurse or doctor will give you a contact list for your health care team. If you don’t get a contact list, feel free to ask for it.
After every appointment, a member of your health care team will tell you about your next visit. Be sure you understand what is going to happen next. For example, know the time and place of your next visit or if someone will call you with this information.
If you are unsure about what your next steps are, don’t be afraid to ask a member of your team. We are here to help you.
We understand that reaching us by phone can sometimes be difficult. Often our phone lines are busy or are turned over to the message centre so our staff can prepare for clinic visits or help other patients. We make every effort to return your call within 24 hours. Our staff will try to reach you 2 times. If we are not able to reach you directly you may need to call us again.