3.3 Foundation Dysphagia Practitioner

Who needs Foundation Dysphagia Practitioner competence?

This is for people who care for individuals suspected of having swallowing problems.  They screen for dysphagia, following a protocol-guided assessment and then implement the care plan.

What do they do?

The competence covers recognition and identification of dysphagia, including any related or co-existent problems by following a screening assessment protocol.  They may also review patients according to local protocols. They recognise the urgency of the referral and, if appropriate, refer to specialists. 

What does the training involve? 

The Foundation Dysphagia Practitioner is directly linked to the Skills for Health competence

  • DYS1 Undertake a protocol-guided swallowing assessment, see here  

Training requirements may vary in each organisation. Explore the screening training opportunities in your setting.

At Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Foundation, screening training is led by the Speech and Language Therapy Department.  Trainees attend a one-day Dysphagia Screening Theory Day run by the Speech and Language Therapy Department.  Next, the trainee completes a minimum of three screening assessments, observed by a Speech and Language Therapist, which usually takes a minimum of two half days.

After achieving Foundation Dysphagia Practitioner competence, staff can undertake a protocol guided assessment /screening independently.  At Sheffield, all screening assessments are monitored by the Speech and Language Therapy Department as a quality assurance mechanism. 


Further information

Refer to the Foundation Dysphagia Practitioner competences in the Inter Professional Dysphagia Framework (Boaden et al 2006).