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Identifying and managing dysphagia in the community

Dysphagia is a swallowing condition that mainly affects older adults and which can be a short- or long-term issue. Dysphagia can have an enormous impact on patients and their carers and for community nurses, early identification is key to managing the condition successfully. Similarly, by familiarising themselves with the signs and symptoms of the condition, nurses can ensure prompt referral to a speech and language therapist who can formulate an individualised plan of care. Managing dysphagia requires a multidisciplinary approach, with the aim of helping patients to maintain an adequate and safe oral intake.