Poststroke Dysphagia: Implications for Nurses


  • Patricia L. Travers MS RN

    Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Patricia Travers is a nursing coordinator on the medical rehabilitation unit of DeGraff Memorial Hospital, CGF Health System, in North Tonawanda, NY.

2880 Albright Road, Ransomville, NY 14131, e-mail


It is important for nurses to increase their understanding of post-stroke dysphagia because nurses are often the first to observe the signs and symptoms of dysphagia. An increased awareness of dysphagia and its complications should help prepare nurses to assess high-risk clients, advocate for prompt diagnosis, use compensatory interventions, and educate clients and their family members. Dysphagia is common after clients have had a stroke, and it places them at risk for numerous complications. Prompt assessment and intervention are required and may decrease clients' problems. This article presents an overview of the normal swallowing reflex to facilitate readers' understanding of dysphagia and discusses the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of dysphagia as well as related nursing implications. An individualized plan of care for a dysphagic client requires input from the entire interdisciplinary team, and nurses must ensure adherence to this plan on a 24-hour-per-day basis.