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Evaluation of the prevalence of screening for dysphagia among older people admitted to medical services – An international survey

Evaluation of the prevalence of screening for dysphagia among older people admitted to medical services – An international survey

Smithard, David, Westmark, Signe and Melgaard, Dorte (2019) Evaluation of the prevalence of screening for dysphagia among older people admitted to medical services – An international survey. OBM Geriatrics, 3 (4). pp. 1-8. ISSN 2638-1311 (doi:https://doi.org/10.21926/obm.geriatr.1904086)

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Abstract

Background:
With the increasing age of the world population, the number of old and frail people is increasing. Respiratory disease is a common reason for hospital admission for older people. Aspiration of saliva, which is probably infected, is the likely etiological agent. The incidence of an abnormal swallow is high in frail older people. Despite the high incidence of swallow problems among older people, many hospital services do not routinely screen older people for dysphagia.

Methods:
A survey, using Research Electronic Database Capture (REDCap), was carried out via email for a convenience sample of contacts working in hospitals worldwide. They were asked; 1) type of medical services, 2) does your service screen older (>80 years) people for swallowing problems, 3) have nursing staff and medical staff trained to administer a swallow screen, 4) is a swallowing rehabilitation program offered to older people, and 5) which elements of a rehabilitation program are offered and used.

Results:
One hundred and fifty people with consent from 29 countries responded to the survey. Of them, 75% work in an acute hospital, 15% in rehab, and 10% in community. In total, 62% responded that they do not or only occasionally screen older people for swallowing difficulties; 50% of the medical staff and 27% of the nursing staff were not trained to administer a swallowing screen. A rehabilitation swallowing program was offered in 63% cases, with chin tuck against resistance (83%), tongue strengthening (87%), and shaker maneuver (79%) being more common than electric stimulation (21%).

Conclusions:
The results of this study suggest that most health facilities do not routinely screen older people for swallowing problems, and the majority of them do not train their staff. The majority of facilities were offering a rehabilitation program. In addition, it is likely that many people are not receiving the appropriate proactive intervention because swallowing problems are not being proactively sought.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Special Issue: Dysphagia in the Elderly *** © 2019 by the author. This is an open access article distributed under the conditions of the Creative Commons by Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format, provided the original work is correctly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dysphagia; screening; swallowing disorders; elderly; hospital; prevalence; survey; rehabilitation; medical services
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Department of Life & Sports Sciences
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2019 12:27
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/26112

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