To Reduce the Incidences of Aspiration among Patients during Hospitalization

Monday, 12 July 2010: 3:05 PM

Sujata Rajaram, RN, MSN, (Gerontology)
Department of Geriatrics- Ward 3/ Geriatric Medicine, Alexandra Hospital, Singapore, Singapore

Learning Objective 1: 1)To reduce aspiration among the elderly in the hospitals

Learning Objective 2: 2)Aspiration among the elderly can lead to serious consequences

Purpose: Dysphagia is common in the elderly and is known to be an important risk factor which may result in developing aspiration pneumonia. It is associated with a mortality of 45% among hospitalized elderly patients. January to August 2005 it was reported that patients had aspirated during their stay in Alexandra Hospital Data showed that out of 13 cases that aspirated 8(62%) were fed orally, 4(31%) were fed via nasogastric tube and 1(7%) via percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy. However only two cases were referred to the speech therapist, as they had poor swallowing reflexes. There was a pertinent need in our organization to look into the causes of aspiration as this may lead to serious consequences.
Method: To identify the root causes for aspiration, a fish bone diagram was used. The 80-20 rule showed that there were poor screening, lack of skills and knowledge deficit of nurses and carers.
Results: A modified dysphagia screening test and the swallowing assessment were introduced. Caregiver training for feeding for nasogastric tube, percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy and oral feeding were revised. Visual aids for the better understanding and retaining of information were created. The taping of the nasogastric tube was done using the bolster method.
Conclusion: Thus with the introduction of Burke's Dysphagia Screening tool and the swallowing assessment and competency checklists for carers and nurses , there were nil cases of aspiration pneumonia in Alexandra Hospital