Identification and nursing management of dysphagia in individuals with acute neurological impairment (update)
Results Forty-two quantitative studies were retrieved and, of these, 17 met the inclusion and quality criteria, representing a wide range of quantitative research methodologies. The evidence from this updated review indicates that nurses are well placed to conduct dysphagia screening and that there are several tools available that may be suitable for them to use. It is important that formal dysphagia screening protocols are in place and that nurses are trained to use them. If nurses screen patients with an acute neurological impairment within 24 h of admission, it may reduce the time that patients spend without appropriate methods of nutrition and hydration and improve clinical outcomes. Dysphagia screening by nurses does not replace assessment by other health professionals; instead it enhances the provision of care to patients at risk by allowing for early recognition and intervention to occur. Dysphagia screening by nurses is an important initial step in the care of patients with acute neurological impairment, but in order to achieve the best outcomes, it needs to be followed up with careful, consistent management of food and fluid intake.