Decision Guide Helps ID Referral for Swallowing Assessment

Decision guide is effective for determining which patients should be referred for swallowing assessment after extubation

THURSDAY, Feb. 9, 2023 (HealthDay News) — A decision guide is effective for helping nurses and health care providers determine which patients should be referred for swallowing assessment after extubation, according to a study published online Feb. 1 in Critical Care Nurse.

Noting that critical care nurses, health care providers, and speech-language pathology professionals lack a clear process for referring patients for swallowing assessment after extubation, Waverlyn J. Royals, from ECU Health Medical Center in Greenville, North Carolina, and colleagues developed a guide with specific indicators. To determine the most appropriate indicators for the guide, a review of the literature was conducted. Before and after the project, referrals to speech-language pathology professionals were tabulated.

The researchers found there were 994 speech-language pathology consultations for postextubation evaluation of swallowing during the 11 months before implementation of the project, while 831 consultations were recorded in the 11 months after implementation of the project, representing a 16.4 percent reduction. This reduction yielded cost savings and prevented unnecessary testing before resumption of oral intake. During the project, the utilization rate for the guide was 58 percent.

“Broader application at a hospital and even a system level could improve utilization of the decision guide, allocation of health care resources, and patient outcomes,” the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text

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