Dysphagia Essay

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Dysphagia is a swallowing disorder that can cause discomfort when food gets stuck in the throat. It can be caused by a variety of medical conditions, such as: nervous system disorders, gastrointestinal conditions, prematurity, heart disease, cleft lip or palate, and head and neck abnormalities. A patient with dysphagia can be cared for by a family physician in a hospital, or a nursing home with the assistance of a speech-language pathologist (SLP), physician, nutritionist, etc. as long as he or she has been properly diagnosed. The prevalence increases with age and poses problems in older patients. Typically, the average age of onset is around 55 year olds, but dysphagia can occur in children as well. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the three stages in the swallowing process are: 1) the oral phase, where the patient can suck, chew, and move food or liquid into the throat, 2) the pharyngeal phase, where the swallowing reflex starts, as well as trying to squeeze food down the throat, and closing off the airway to prevent food or liquid from entering the airways to prevent choking, and 3) the esophageal phase, where the patient relaxes and tightens the openings at the top and bottom of the feeding tube in the throat and squeezes food through the esophagus into the stomach (ASHA, 2014). For dysphagic patients, subsequent treatment is required when a problem occurs at any point in the swallowing process. Treatment is available for all patients with dysphagia. There are different approaches depending on the cause, symptoms, and severity of the swallowing problem. A speech-language-pathologist may recommend possible treatment options that family members and patients may take into consideration for ... ... middle of paper ... ...nd his or her family. Cultural and social values may be important factors in an individual’s decision regarding treatment, as well as the role of eating in relation to quality of life. The shared decision making integrates the needs, interests, and perspectives of the patients while looking at the evaluation of real and assumed risk. Real risk are those where there are clinical, measurable signs that non-adherence to the dysphagia recommendations will negatively affecting the patient’s health. Assumed risk is a resistance of facts offered by a party against the proceedings that have been introduced to diminish a cause of action, entailing a dangerous condition and voluntary exposure to it. While it may be difficult for the clinicians and patient to come to an agreement, shared decision making offers best possible scenario for creating an effective treatment plan.

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