OVERVIEW: Dysphagia can lead to malnutrition, dehydration, aspiration pneumonia, and even death. The condition has diverse causes and symptoms vary widely. Nurses are likely to encounter patients with dysphagia in various settings, including acute care medical units, rehabilitation centers, and skilled nursing facilities. Dietary modification--altering the consistency of foods and liquids--is a fundamental aspect of dysphagia management. This article describes normal and impaired swallowing, discusses several types and levels of dietary modification, and offers readers a concise list of nursing considerations.
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