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Improving Adherence to Swallowing Exercises: Key Insights for Practitioners

Improving Adherence to Swallowing Exercises: Key Insights for Practitioners

As a speech-language pathologist dedicated to improving outcomes for children, understanding the dynamics of adherence to therapeutic exercises is critical. The recent research article, "Increasing Adherence to Prophylactic Swallowing Exercises During Head and Neck Radiotherapy: The Multicenter, Randomized Controlled PRESTO-Trial," offers valuable insights that can be translated into practice. This blog aims to highlight the key findings and suggest ways practitioners can leverage these outcomes to enhance their therapeutic interventions.

Understanding the PRESTO Trial

The PRESTO trial focused on improving adherence to prophylactic swallowing exercises (PSE) in patients undergoing radiotherapy for head and neck cancer. Adherence to these exercises is crucial for preventing dysphagia, which can lead to severe complications such as malnutrition and aspiration. The trial compared three different service-delivery modes: diary-supported, app-supported, and therapist-supported PSE.

Key Findings

Implications for Practice

These findings offer several actionable insights for practitioners:

  1. Increase Face-to-Face Interaction: Regular, face-to-face sessions with a therapist can significantly improve adherence. This interaction provides continuous supervision and motivational support, which are crucial for maintaining high adherence rates.
  2. Utilize Hybrid Models: While app-supported and diary-supported models are convenient, they may not be as effective alone. A hybrid approach that combines these methods with regular therapist check-ins could be more effective.
  3. Monitor Adherence: Regularly tracking adherence and providing feedback can help identify issues early and allow for timely interventions to keep patients on track.

Encouraging Further Research

The PRESTO trial underscores the importance of adherence in therapeutic outcomes. However, more research is needed to explore long-term adherence and the impact of different service-delivery modes over extended periods. Practitioners are encouraged to engage in or support further research to continue improving therapeutic outcomes.

To read the original research paper, please follow this link: Increasing Adherence to Prophylactic Swallowing Exercises During Head and Neck Radiotherapy: The Multicenter, Randomized Controlled PRESTO-Trial.


Citation: Baudelet, M., Duprez, F., Van den Steen, L., Nuyts, S., Nevens, D., Goeleven, A., ... & Van Nuffelen, G. (2022). Increasing adherence to prophylactic swallowing exercises during head and neck radiotherapy: The multicenter, randomized controlled PRESTO-trial. Dysphagia, 38(3), 886-895. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00455-022-10513-6

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