Dr. Eric Blicker,MA CCC-SLP.D BCS-S, is a specialist in swallowing and swallowing disorders. Dr. Blicker holds his Board Certification in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders. In addition to his daily duties as an acute care SLP, Dr. Blicker also owns his own continuing education company, teaching SLPs all over the country about FEES and issues related to swallowing disorders.
FEES is an instrumental assessment for swallowing. Flexible Endscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) involves using an endoscope with a camera placed in the nostril and into the pharynx (throat) to assess the pharyngeal phase of the swallow.
Dr. Blicker also educates SLPs on patient’s that use a ventilator (breathing machine) or that have had a trachestomy (artificial airway with a tube in the throat to keep the stoma open).
You can find Dr. Blicker’s continuing education courses here. You can also find Dr. Blicker on Facebook and LinkedIn where he often shares great information regarding dysphagia (swallowing disorders).
Work in acute care (in the hospital) can be very demanding. SLPs are often asked to assess patient’s that are admitted following stroke (CVA), respiratory issues, Parkinson’s Disease, car accidents, etc. SLPs often assess patients for swallowing disorders, cognition and language skills (aphasia). It is typically the decision of the SLP assessment to move on to an instrumental assessment of swallowing, either a Videofluoroscopic Swallow Study which is completed in the xray department using a real-time video to watch the patient swallow liquids and solids mixed with barium. The SLP may also choose to complete a FEES assessment which can be completed at bedside.
Question: How did you become a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)?
Answer: As a teenager, I had two grandparents with Dementia. I became intrigued and saddened by their decline in communication and swallowing function and spoke with a neurologist around 15 years old. I wanted to help them, but felt helpless. I went to the State University of New York and on my last day of undergraduate in 1997. I met Cathy Pelletier SLP who had a mobile FEES (Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing) company. As undergraduate I assisted her in my first FEES exam and I was hooked. I went to Kean University for Graduate School and then did my CFY in NYC in 1999. Immediately following my CFY in 2000, I did a post-graduate FEESST (Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing with Sensory Testing) training at Columbia University for 8 months. This is how I became an SLP.
Question: In what setting are you currently working?
Answer: -ASHA Approved Continuing Education Provider
-FEES trainer in sub-acute settings
-Clinical work in acute care
-Actively running CEU website
-FEES training across the country in varied settings
Question: Describe a typical day in your setting.
Answer: -Running the daily operations of my CEU company
-Evaluating and treating adult and geriatric patients with communication and swallowing disorders
-Strong focus on MBS and FEES within acute care
– I wear comfortable sneakers as I run the stairs at the hospital
Question: What area of speech language pathology most interests you?
Answer: -Tracheostomy and Ventilator Dependent Patients
-Post Extubation Dysphagia (after an endotrachial tube is removed).
-Dysphagia and COPD
Question: What advice would you give someone just starting in the field?
Answer: Life is a journey not a destination, enjoy the ride and keep your eyes and ears wide open.