Long-Term Care

Residents at high risk for developing dysphagia

LTC Nursing Assistant Trainer, December 2, 2010

Dysphagia is difficulty swallowing food, fluids, or oral secretions. Approximately 53-74% of long-term care facility residents have dysphagia. Residents who are at high risk for developing dysphagia include those who:

  • Have a neuromuscular disease (Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s Chorea, postpolio syndrome, or multiple sclerosis)
  • Have had a stroke
  • Have cancer of the head, neck, or esophagus
  • Have had radiation treatment to the face or throat
  • Are on medications that decrease saliva production, impair cognition, or increase sedation
  • Have dementia

Most people swallow at least 600 times each day. For persons with dysphagia, swallowing can be an insurmountable problem. These residents are at great risk for weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration, choking, and aspiration.

This is an excerpt from the HCPro book, The Long-Term Care Nursing Desk Reference, Second Edition, by Barbara Acello, MS, RN.

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