Dysphagia Clinic

What is the Dysphagia Clinic?

The NSHSC S-LP works in partnership with the Radiology Department and Otolaryngology Department of the QEII, Dickson Centre site to provide assessments through the Dysphagia Clinic. Other health professionals are involved in the dysphagia clinic may include clinical dietitians or nurses. Patients are scheduled for specific tests as requested by their doctor (e.g., MBS or FEES). If no test is specified, patients receive the most appropriate test, based on referral information.

The NSHSC Dysphagia Clinic S-LP provides consultative support to community NSHSC S-LPs to facilitate dysphagia follow-up.

What are the most commonly used assessment procedures at the Dysphagia Clinic?

The two main tests for diagnosing swallowing problems are Modified Barium Swallow (MBS), and Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of the Swallow (FEES). Both tests are available at the Dickson Centre.

MBS studies are conducted cooperatively by a Speech-Language Pathologist and a Radiologist. In this test, x-ray images are taken while the patient eats regular food coated in a white paste called barium.

FEES studies are conducted by an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist, a Speech-Language Pathologist, and a Clinical Dietitian. For this test, a tiny camera is passed through the nose to allow a good view of the pharynx (i.e., throat) and larynx (i.e., voice box) while the patient eats. The food is usually dyed green or blue to make sure it can be seen.

Who can be referred?

Anyone experiencing swallowing difficulty can be referred to the Dysphagia clinic. However, if the patient has a known neuromuscular disorder (e.g., Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, Parkinsons, etc.) the referral should be sent to the Neuromuscular Clinic.

Please contact your physician if you have concerns or questions about your swallowing or contact Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Centres at 1-888-780-3330 or email us at info@nshsc.nshealth.ca. Your physician may refer you to the Dysphagia Clinic in Halifax.

Who can refer?

The Dysphagia Team requires a physician-signed referral. Self-referrals, or referrals made by other professionals (e.g., S-LP, OT, Physio, etc.) cannot be processed.

Who should be contacted with the referral?

Referrals can be sent by mail to:

Nova Scotia Hearing & Speech Centres Dysphagia Clinic
Dickson Building
5820 University Ave., Room 3084
Halifax NS  B3H 1V7

Alternatively, referrals can be faxed to (902) 473-7313.

When referrals are received, patients will be contacted by phone or by mail to complete a Pre-Assessment Questionnaire. The questionnaire helps the Dysphagia Team better understand the patient’s swallowing difficulty, and helps with planning clinics.