MЕDICAL SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGY IN BULGARIA – A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE CURRENT STATUS AND DEVELOPMENT
Dobrinka Georgieva, Robert Orlikoff
ABSTRACT:The complexity of ever-changing health standards, new health policies, changes in the healthcare environment, necessitates an advanced level of professional expertise in Medical Speech-Language Pathology (MSLP). Objectives: This study presents the current status, opportunities and perspectives for the development of MSLP in Bulgaria. Method: Theoretical overview and comparative analysis of the data and literature on MSLP as it exists in the USA and is developing in Bulgaria. The special emphasis is placed on the scope of practice of MSLP in the USA and Bulgaria, which is a key problem for the prospects for the development of this specialty. Results: The perspective for the development of MSLP in Bulgaria is wider and favorable in view of the continuous aging of the population and the need for effective and high-quality treatment for all types of communication disorders across the lifespan. Conclusions: MSLP has a perspective for development in Bulgaria only if it is studied as a health specialty within medical or health faculties, but necessarily housed within a medical university. A clear understanding of the scope of practice is fundamental for the development of MSLP, but it should not overlap the purview of other professions.
Keywords: Medical Speech-Language Pathology, scope of practice, Clinical Logopedics, communication disorders