SLP Guidelines for the Use of Topical Anesthesia
Speech-Language Pathologists provide diagnostic and treatment services that may call for the use of topical anesthetics to complete certain diagnostic and/or treatment activities. For example, a patient may require the use of a topical anesthetic while undergoing a Fiberoptic Endoscopic Examination of Swallowing (FEES) procedure.
It is the position of the Maryland Board of Examiners that the use of topical anesthetics by speech-language pathologists is within the Speech-Language Pathology Scope of Practice when necessary to complete such procedures.
The following Guidelines have been adopted by the Board for speech-language pathologists to consider when using topical anesthetics:
- The Speech Language Pathologist should check facility policies to ensure that they may apply a topical anesthetic in that facility.
- The Speech Language Pathologist should undergo training in the use of topical anesthetics that includes information about negative reactions and follow-up care. It is recommended that such training be documented in the Speech-Language Pathologist’s personnel file and be updated annually.
- The Speech Language Pathologist should have an on-going relationship with an appropriate medical professional for information and referral purposes.
- The Speech Language Pathologist should inform the patient of the need for the use of a topical anesthetic and have informed consent forms signed as required by the facility.
- It is recommended that the Speech Language Pathologist have access to an appropriate medical professional and/or facility in the event that an adverse reaction occurs.
- Speech Language Pathologists should review relevant scope of practice documents, position statements, and related ethics issues prior to implementing the use of topical anesthetics in their practice.