Indexed on: 09 Aug '08Published on: 09 Aug '08Published in: Dysphagia
Swallowing dysfunction in the elderly is common and affects not only nutrition but also the ingestion of medicines. This qualitative study used a focus group to collect data from ten healthcare professionals who are involved in the care of people with swallowing difficulties. The group discussed their experiences of the problems associated with and solutions to the administration of medicines to patients with dysphagia. The focus group was audiotaped, and the data analysed using Colaizzi's technique. Six themes were identified, three main ones: (1) the wide spectrum of dysphagia; (2) medicine formulation, which affects how drugs can be administered; (3) problems with data flow, i.e., the correct information being with the right person at the right time and in the right place; and three minor ones which arose from the major themes: (4) the primary function of swallowing is nutrition rather than taking medication; (5) cost of medicines; and (6) therapeutic dilemmas. The study concludes that improvements in interprofessional communication are needed to improve medicine administration to dysphagic patients.