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Dysphagia in nursing home residents: a cross-sectional study

Isabel de Jesus Oliveira (Centre for Health Studies and Research, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal and Department of Nursing, Northern Health School of Portuguese Red Cross, Oliveira de Azeméis, Portugal)
Flávio Filipe Sousa Ferreira (Dr Francisco Rodrigues Jardim Health Unit, Porto Santo Island, Portugal)
Licínia Vanessa Rodrigues Fernandes (Private Hospital of Madeira Island, Funchal, Portugal)

Working with Older People

ISSN: 1366-3666

Article publication date: 26 September 2022

Issue publication date: 7 August 2023




This paper aims to disseminate the results of research aiming to identify the prevalence of dysphagia and related clinical factors in nursing home residents.


A cross-sectional descriptive study was developed, including 99 residents in five nursing homes. A sociodemographic questionnaire and the Gugging Swallowing Screen for dysphagia screening were used for data collection.


The prevalence of dysphagia was 59.59%. A significant correlation was found between dysphagia and worse scores for fall risk, pressure ulcer, level of independence for activities of daily living and cognitive functioning.

Research limitations/implications

Results should be interpreted carefully due to sample size and specific country context. A larger sample must be achieved in further research.

Practical implications

Nurses must receive proper training to perform systematic dysphagia screening, and it should be considered, given the high prevalence, the inclusion of professionals specially trained for rehabilitating dysphagic residents in nursing home teams.

Social implications

The social and economic burden of dysphagia, in addition to all the implications on the person’s quality of life, requires a differentiated focus on this issue by nursing home managers.


Nursing homes have nurses providing health care; however, trained professionals for dysphagia treatment commonly are not. These results highlight the importance of systematic screening for dysphagia in all residents, thus promoting timely intervention to prevent respiratory and nutritional complications.



The authors thank all patients, nurses and boards of all the participating nursing homes.

Disclosure of conflicts of interest: The authors declare no financial or other conflicts of interest.


Oliveira, I.d.J., Ferreira, F.F.S. and Fernandes, L.V.R. (2023), "Dysphagia in nursing home residents: a cross-sectional study", Working with Older People, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 230-236.



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