Systematic dysphagia screening of elderly persons in the emergency department—a feasibility study

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Identification of elderly patients in risk of dysphagia as early as possible upon hospital admission seems warranted due to the risk of aspiration pneumonia, dehydration, length of stay, and increased mortality. This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility and outcome of dysphagia screening of elderly persons admitted to the emergency department (ED). Inclusion criteria were age ≥ 60 years. A nurse applied the Simple Water Swallow test within one hour of admission. Subsequent assessment was performed by an occupational therapist (OT) using Volume Viscosity Swallow Test and Minimal Eating Observation Form. Of 113 eligible participants (median age 78 years), 75 (66%) were screened in the ED by the nurse, and among those, 12 (16%) were detected with dysphagia. Twenty of the patients not screened in the ED due to critical illness were tested by the OT in the ward after clinical stabilization and 15 patients (75%) were identified with dysphagia. This study demonstrated that it is feasible to perform dysphagia screening of elderly persons by a nurse in the ED, but there are severe limitations according to screening patients with critical illness and patients fasting before surgery in the ED. These patients have a high prevalence of dysphagia and should be screened as early as possible after hospitalization, as it will rarely be possible in the ED.

TidsskriftGeriatrics (Switzerland)
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)1-7
Antal sider7
StatusUdgivet - 12 okt. 2020

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© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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