Oropharyngeal dysphagia among patients newly discharged to nursing home care after an episode of hospital care

  • Ellen Horgan
  • Susan Lawson
  • Desmond O’NeillEmail author
Original Article



Oropharyngeal dysphagia (OPD) is a common but under-recognized problem among older residents in nursing homes. If not detected and properly managed, it is a risk factor for failure to thrive and aspiration pneumonia. Discharge to nursing home from hospital may provide an opportunity for detection and subsequent management.


To assess the extent of transfer of communication of swallow disorders in patients newly discharged to nursing homes from a university teaching hospital and catalogue recommendations suggested at discharge.


University teaching hospital


Speech and language therapy (SLT) consultation notes of referrals from 100 consecutive patients discharged to nursing homes for the first time are reviewed for presence of a swallow disorder. The discharge documentation was then assessed to determine transfer recommendations for management of swallow disorders.


Fifty-three patients had been referred to SLT for suspected OPD during hospitalization. At time of discharge, 35 (35%) continued to present with OPD and swallow recommendations were made as part of the management plan. An SLT report was transmitted to the nursing home in 80% of these cases.


OPD is present at discharge in over one-third of patients newly discharged to nursing home following a hospital admission, and this may be an under-estimate. This is significant in terms of planning of future care of management in nursing homes. It is important that the syndrome is duly noted in transfer documentation and that appropriate multi-disciplinary support arranged for residents in nursing homes with OPD.


Deglutition disorders Nursing homes Patient transfer 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Ageing, Neurosciences and the HumanitiesTallaght University HospitalDublinIreland
  2. 2.Department of Speech and Language TherapyTallaght University HospitalDublinIreland

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