Liability Risks for Speech-Language Pathology Professionals

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Liability Risks for Speech-Language Pathology Professionals

If you work in the field of speech-language pathology or speech therapy, you might think that you are at low risk of a malpractice lawsuit. However, as the scope of services provided in the speech-language pathology field broadens and our society becomes increasingly litigious, there is always a chance that a practitioner might face a lawsuit or claim.

An article from Advance Healthcare Network cites hands-on, invasive procedures such as fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) and management of patients with ventilators or tracheostomies as contributing to increased numbers of malpractice claims.

According to Spectrum Speech & Feeding, practitioners who specialize in feeding and swallowing therapy are at particular risk for malpractice lawsuits due to the liabilities associated with food allergies, choking and aspiration.

As with any health care specialty, other common malpractice complaints stem from:

  • Failure to adhere to professional standards of care.
  • Lack of effective communication between the therapist and the patient or their family members.
  • Poor communication between the speech-language pathologist and other members of the health care team.

Many of those complaints can be avoided by keeping your training current and being conscientious about communication and documentation. It’s also helpful to maintain a personal Professional Liability Insurance policy to protect your career and finances in the event that you should ever be named in a malpractice lawsuit despite your best efforts.