Int J Speech Lang Pathol. 2021 Dec 20:1-10. doi: 10.1080/17549507.2021.2013533. Online ahead of print.
Purpose: The role of allied health practitioners providing physical rehabilitation of central facial palsy (CFP) is minimally reported in the literature. This study explores current practice and the roles, attitudes and perceptions of allied health professionals (AHPs) working with people with CFP.Method: An electronic survey was distributed to speech-language pathologists (SLPs), occupational therapists and physiotherapists. Responses (n = 78) were analysed using qualitative and quantitative methods.Result: SLPs often lead management of CFP; however, their role is not clearly defined nor well recognised. Several barriers were identified which prevent AHPs from providing consistent specialist rehabilitation to people with CFP. These included a lack of training, no clear delegation of role, limited evidence and lack of resources.Conclusion: Survey respondents viewed CFP to be within SLP scope of practice; although, ownership of management varies between countries and professions. Most SLPs recognise the negative impact of CFP and feel a sense of responsibility to provide assessment and treatment of this impairment, but many barriers to doing so have been identified. Suggestions to improve access to rehabilitation for people with CFP included increased access to training for SLPs, more evidence, clinical practice guidelines and more clinical resources. Further research is required to ensure people suffering from CFP can access services that provide skilled management of their impairment.
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