Telepractice for the Delivery of Pediatric Feeding Services: A Survey of Practice Investigating Clinician Perceptions and Current Service Models in Australia

Dysphagia. 2020 Apr;35(2):378-388. doi: 10.1007/s00455-019-10042-9. Epub 2019 Jul 30.


The provision of speech-language pathology (SLP) services via telepractice is expanding. However, little is known about the use of telepractice to deliver pediatric feeding services. The current study aimed to investigate SLPs perceptions, and current use of, telepractice in pediatric feeding. An electronic survey was distributed to SLPs with pediatric feeding experience within Australia. Questions pertained to general demographics, feeding experience, telepractice experience and perceptions of telepractice. Most questions were multiple choice, with some short response questions. Eighty-four complete responses were received. Overall, 41% of the cohort were interested in providing telepractice services but only 20% reported experience delivering pediatric feeding services via telepractice. Most telepractice users reported commencing telepractice services within the last 12 months. Most clinicians identified a range of age groups and feeding services that they believed could be offered via telepractice and a range of benefits to telepractice feeding services were identified. Benefits included natural environment, reduced distance and travel, opportunities to increase services and increased supervision and support. Although most respondents reported access to technology, most had difficulty accessing this on a daily basis to establish regular telepractice services. Clinician concerns regarding the safety and efficacy of conducting pediatric feeding assessments via telepractice were also identified. Overall, although the delivery of pediatric feeding services via telepractice remains limited, many clinicians were interested in using telepractice and had positive perceptions regarding its use. Continued efforts to enhance clinician access to technology and further evidence for the efficacy of this service delivery model for pediatric feeding will aid clinical implementation.

Keywords: Deglutition; Deglutition disorders; Dysphagia; Feeding; Pediatric; Perceptions; Speech-language pathology; Telepractice.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Australia
  • Child
  • Child Health Services*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myofunctional Therapy / methods
  • Myofunctional Therapy / psychology*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data
  • Speech-Language Pathology / statistics & numerical data*
  • Telemedicine / methods*