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Webinar Recording: Dysphagia’s Broader Impacts on Caregivers & Families

Originally Broadcast Thursday, October 17th, 2019

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Webinar Description: 

Dysphagia’s biopsychosocial ramifications are widespread, impacting nearly every facet of an individual’s life. However, often overlooked is the influence of dysphagia on informal caregivers and families. Ultimately, the health and well-being of the entire family is central to care provision outcomes; when one member of a family system faces a chronic health condition, the entire family is simultaneously and reciprocally impacted. The first portion of this presentation will introduce attendees to the current literature on dysphagia-related third-party disability and caregiver burden, presenting two interdisciplinary models that can guide more family-focused, comprehensive approaches to care. Attendees will then be provided with a first-hand description of the lived experience of being a family member of a stroke survivor with dysphagia, including (potentially unexpected) challenges and factors that can contribute to a family’s resiliency. Geared toward professionals, patients, and families, at the conclusion of this presentation, all attendees will be more informed of the necessity of moving beyond impairment-level approaches to treatment in order to maximize healthcare outcomes for patients and their families.

Meet the Presenters:

Samantha Shune, PhD, CCC-SLP. Samantha is an assistant professor at the University of Oregon. Her research and clinical interests include the effects of healthy and pathologic aging on swallowing and the mealtime process. She is particularly interested in better understanding shared food-related activities as opportunities to therapeutically target improved quality of life for both older adults and their social networks (e.g., partners, family members). Prior to returning to school for her PhD and throughout her doctoral program, she worked as an ASHA certified speech-language pathologist in various medical settings (inpatient/outpatient rehabilitation, skilled nursing, acute care), with a particular focus on dysphagia and stroke rehabilitation. In addition to her research, she currently teaches in the area of medical speech-language pathology and organizes a swallowing disorders support group. More information about her work is available at

Michele Vandehey, MS, CCC-SLP. Michelle is an acute care speech-language pathologist. She completed her coursework and thesis in dysphagia at Idaho State University under the direction and guidance of Dr. Tony Seikel. She is also the daughter of a stroke survivor with severe dysphagia who she provided support to within the home and community for nearly 20 years. Her clinical and research interests primarily center on identifying dysphagia and its impact on individuals and their families, including how to foster improved functional outcomes. 

Medical disclaimer. This Webinar is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with an appropriate health care professional, as each individual’s medical situation is unique. It is important that you consult with your medical professional (e.g., physician, SLP) before implementing any course of treatment. Experiences that are new to you should be done with the help of a caregiver and when access to emergency medical care is available.

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