Why is it important to identify dysphagia in patients who have recently suffered a stroke, and what tools are available to best screen for this disorder? Edmiaston and colleagues note the following:

  • Abnormal swallowing can cause aspiration and increases the likelihood of pneumonia.

  • The Joint Commission mandates that all stroke patients be screened for dysphagia before initiating an oral diet.

  • A nurse-driven dysphagia screening process can detect swallowing difficulties early, reducing aspiration risk or allowing timely recognition of normal swallowing so oral nutrition can be initiated as soon as possible.

  • The new Acute-Stroke Dysphagia Screen is easy to administer and reliable, and has sufficient sensitivity to identify aspiration or dysphagia risk in patients with acute stroke.

—Karen McQuillan, RN, MS, CCRN, CNRN

See Article, pp 357–364

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