Increasing lifeexpectancy and consequently, a higher demand of care for the elderlydemographic, illustrates nurses are more than likely to come across individualswith swallowing deglutition disorders. In a study carried out in the communityby Wright et al. (2015), 792 individuals participated, in which 60% of thoseparticipants stated they experienced difficulties in swallowing tablet orcapsule forms of medication (Wright et al, 2015). These statistics highlightthe prevalence and applicability of this condition in individuals who areunlikely to have a formal diagnosis of a deglutition disorder and thereforerely on healthcare professionals on admission to assess and act accordingly.
In accordance withthe NMC code, nurses have a duty of care to ‘accurately assess signs ofworsening physical health in the person receiving care’ (NMC, 2015:13) and ‘takemeasures to reduce as far as possible the likelihood of mistakes and/or harm'(NMC, 2015:14) – this means nurses are accountable for ensuring patients cansafely swallow their prescribed medications.Throughout mytraining, I have encountered many individuals who have had difficulty inswallowing their prescribed oral medications resulting in nurses being unsureof whether to omit the medication, alter the dosage form i.e. crush the tabletand/or patients being non-compliant.
Because of this, I have observed thepotential harmful outcomes that can arise in this situation when patients aregiven their routine medications, such as: patients aspirating with thelikelihood of developing aspirate pneumonia, the nurse-patient therapeuticrelationship being altered if patients encounter difficulties i.e. choking, andthe side effects of omitting medicines i.e.
omitting Parkinson tablets, canhave a vast effect on the patient’s ability to maintain their independence.I have chosen tofocus on the elderly demographic of 65 years and above as there are on average11.8 million people over the age of 65 years in the UK with the populationexpected to rise by over 40% before 2035 (Age UK, 2017). It is also estimatedof the 18.7 million individuals admitted to hospital in the UK last year, 7.
6 millionwere 65+ years and 4million of these admissions were patients with long termillnesses (Age UK, 2017). In addition to this, individuals aged 65 years andover were the highest category of people in the UK to experience medicationerrors as an inpatient on older people’s wards in 2014/2015 (Age UK, 2017). Therefore,from previous experiences as a student nurse and recent literature I have read,I have decided to conduct this literature review on the prevalence ofmedication modification in geriatric patients with deglutition disorders.