The South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust is committed to providing a high standard of care to all patients. As part of that care, staff must be able to monitor and care for a patient who has difficulty swallowing, whether this is on an emergency basis or part of a long term management
Disruption of swallowing can have serious effects, such as choking and aspiration (fluid or food going into the lungs instead of the stomach). Aspiration from Dysphagia can lead to pneumonia, malnutrition, urinary tract infections, food refusal, dehydration, constipation, chest infection and potentially death. (National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA), 2004)
An holistic approach to care, considering the patient's physical needs as well as psychological and emotional needs, is essential. A key role for all staff within the Trust is to promote and enable wellbeing. The Physical Healthcare Pathway and the Nutrition Pathway should be used where cases of Dysphagia are suspected or present.
Link to the full Policy: