Dysphagia is a condition that needs much attention from all areas of staff in a nursing home setting. Dysphagia is more prominent among older populations and will be a significant issue considering our population is aging very rapidly. Every employee needs to be equipped with the knowledge about dysphagia. Nursing can help dysphagia because they are with their patients’ everyday administering hands on treatment. This paper will discuss what dysphagia is, factors leading to the cause of dysphagia, how it is assessed, how this disorder affects quality of life and how can nursing professionals gear their knowledge in creating greater quality of life and care for patients with dysphagia.
Dysphagia is defined as any dysfunction from mastication to passage of the food or liquid into the esophagus (Eisenstadt, pg. 18). There are two categories to label the different types of dysphagia. The first category is Oropharyngeal dysphagia. This dysphagia is characterized by the difficulty of initiating swallowing and moving food from the mouth to the esophagus (Eisenstadt, pg. 18). As a result, patients who have this type of dysphagia either cough or choke on liquids that are too thin. Patients diagnosed with Oropharyngeal dysphagia may also have a hoarse, or wet voice and sometimes cannot control the saliva from their mouth. Oropharyngeal dysphagia is usually associated with patients who have various neurological disorders (Eisenstadt, pg. 18). This may include Parkinson’s disease or stroke patients.
The second type of dysphagia is called Esophageal dysphagia. This type dysphagia is characterized by the diminished ability to move food through the esophagus (Eisenstadt, pg. 18). This may cause chest pain or cause the patient to spit up their food. There are many reasons why the passage of the food into the stomach cavity could be blocked or damaged. Reasons may include a damaged esophageal sphincter, which would allow passage of food back into the larynx. Alcoholism, diabetes mellitus and aging are also major contributing factors to Esophageal dysphagia. The most common complications associated with the two types of dysphagia are malnutrition, aspiration pneumonia or pneumonitis (Eisenstadt, pg. 19).
Dysphagia could be the cause of many factors. These factors may include a serious neurological disorder like Parkinson’s disease or a patient who had a stroke therefore has difficulty controlling crucial muscles in the neck region. Patients with dementia of Parkinson’s disease typically have dysphagia because it is part of the decline of their disease. Another cause of dysphagia could be an obstruction in the throat. This obstruction may be the result of a cancer or mass in the throat preventing successful and safe swallowing in the patient.
A very common and simple way to assess dysphagia would be a standard bedside assessment. The patient is examined for their level of consciousness, posture, voluntary cough, voice quality, and saliva control (Cichero, pg....