Dysphagia in people with learning disabilities

dysphagia adult ID

Abstract:
Dysphagia has a detrimental effect on quality of life, particularly among people with learning disabilities. The cause of the condition must be identified to assess risk, plan management and, above all, ensure the safe administration of medicines. Yet, although people with learning disabilities and swallowing difficulties may be at serious risk if their conditions are not diagnosed and managed appropriately, there has been a lack of guidance on the subject in the UK. This article explains how a multidisciplinary group of UK healthcare professionals shared their knowledge about dysphagia in a guideline for best practice. It also describes how to determine its causes and emphasise the importance of the condition. The article covers the administration of medications to people with swallowing difficulties, the importance of regular and comprehensive reviews of medications, and the need to involve the people concerned and their carers in such reviews, and in care planning. It also deals with some of the legal principles underpinning this area
of care, where many service users have insufficient mental capacity to make necessary decisions.

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About Catriona Lysaght

Catriona LysaghtCatriona Lysaght is a Speech and Language Therapist working in Ireland. Her day-to-day caseload is predominantly adults with dysphagia, in hospital and nursing home environments, and as part of this she provides face-to-face dysphagia care training too. She has worked in dysphagia for the last 12 years, and has a first class Master of Science degree from the University of Limerick.

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