Position Statement: COVID-19, FEES, & SASS

  1. SARS-Cov-2, or COVID-19, is a highly contagious viral disease transmitted from person to person primarily by shedding respiratory droplets through the air or from infected surfaces.
  2. Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) is a professionally-recognized, essential instrumental medical procedure to assess patients, post-COVID and non-COVID, with suspected oropharyngeal dysphagia.
  3. SASS recognizes the necessity of instrumental dysphagia assessment in the proper care of patients at risk for dehydration, malnutrition, and respiratory compromise during this COVID pandemic.
  4. SASS follows guidelines set forth by the National Institute of Health to protect its associates, and patients referred for services.
  5. Nasoendoscope use to accomplish FEES, in and of itself, does not produce aerosol-generated droplets. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngologists, Head & Neck Surgeons (AAOHNS), its use may potentially increase the incidence of coughing, gagging, and sneezing with subsequent aerosolization.
  6. Associates of SASS working to provide FEES services to nursing care facilities and hospitals are considered essential medical healthcare providers.
  7. Associates of SASS are mandated to follow and adhere to revised company policies and procedures, with provisions for correct and timely use of necessary personal protection equipment (PPE), to significantly reduced the risk of contracting COVID-19 or transmitting it to others.
  8. SASS does not administer the FEES procedure to known active COVID patients.  SASS is itenerate moving from one facility to another. Not assessing known active COVID patients helps prevent the risk of transmitting the disease from one facility to another.
  9. SASS accepts physicians’ requests for FEES assessments for post-COVID patients only after the patient has tested negative on two COVID tests greater than 24 hours apart.