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COVID-19 pandemic and total laryngectomy (Searl et al., 2021)

journal contribution
posted on 19.10.2021, 19:20 by Jeff Searl, Ann Kearney, Kathryn Genoa, Philip C. Doyle
Purpose: This study described the clinical experiences of patients with a total laryngectomy (TL) during the COVID-19 pandemic and identified changes in communication, tracheostoma care, and heat–moisture exchange (HME) use that were recommended or self-implemented.
Method: An online survey addressing the study aims was completed by 173 people with a TL who live in the United States. The survey was open from July 5 to August 10, 2020.
Results: In-person clinic visits, appointment cancellations, and contact from their speech-language pathologists (SLPs) were reported by 42%, 19%, and 54% of the TL respondents, respectively. At clinic visits, 78% were required to wear a mask over their nose/mouth, and 73% were required to wear a mask over their tracheostoma. Masks, gloves, and face shields worn by the SLP at these visits were reported by 84%, 82%, and 70% of the TL patients, respectively. Alaryngeal communication changes were recommended by the SLP for 7%–18% of TL patients, depending on their method of communication, whereas 43%–45% implemented changes on their own. Changes in tracheostoma care and HME use were recommended by the SLP for 27% and 21% of the TL respondents, respectively, whereas 54% and 47% made changes on their own.
Conclusions: Individuals with a TL will require in-person care even during a pandemic, as reflected in this study. Many had not been contacted by their SLP or otolaryngologist about TL guidelines that were becoming available. Notably, larger percentages of TL patients reported self-initiated changes to their communication, tracheostoma care, and HME use because of the pandemic than their SLP had advised. The types of communication changes varied in part, depending on the method of alaryngeal speech a respondent used.

Supplemental Material S1. Survey: Experiencing the SARS COVID-19 Outbreak as a Person with a Laryngectomy.

Supplemental Material S2. Distribution of respondents across states (N = 173). Respondents to the survey, Experiencing the SARS COVID-19 Outbreak as a Person with a Laryngectomy.

Supplemental Material S3. Medical history by self-report from respondents to the survey, Experiencing the SARS COVID-19 Outbreak as a Person with a Laryngectomy.

Searl, J., Kearney, A., Genoa, K., & Doyle, P. C. (2021). Clinical experiences of people with a laryngectomy during the SARS COVID-19 pandemic. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2021_AJSLP-21-00117

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