Original Research

Nurses’ knowledge of stroke-related oropharyngeal dysphagia in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

Kerry Knight, Bhavani Pillay, Jeannie van der Linde, Esedra Krüger
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 67, No 1 | a703 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v67i1.703 | © 2020 Kerry Knight, Bhavani Pillay, Jeannie van der Linde, Esedra Krüger | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 March 2020 | Published: 02 September 2020

About the author(s)

Kerry Knight, Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Bhavani Pillay, Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Jeannie van der Linde, Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Esedra Krüger, Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Early identification of stroke-related oropharyngeal dysphagia (OPD) using screening by nurses can prevent adverse patient outcomes in lower middle-income countries. Nurses are essential in the OPD management team and should ideally be able to screen and prioritise dysphagia management in stroke patients.

Objective: The aim of this research was to describe nurses’ practices related to identification and management of patients with stroke-related OPD.

Methods: Qualified nurses from various healthcare levels in the Eastern Cape, South Africa were invited to complete a previously published hard copy survey on the signs and symptoms, complications and management of stroke-related OPD. A sample of 130 participants completed the survey.

Results: The mean scores of correct responses for each section were: 8.7/13 (66.7%) for signs and symptoms, 4.7/10 (47.3%) for complications and 3.8/7 (54.2%) for management practices. Statistically, there were no differences between the levels of healthcare for the signs and symptoms section and the complications section. Regarding management of OPD, secondary-level (S) nurses demonstrated significantly better knowledge than primary-level (P) and tertiary-level (T) nurses (S–P: p = 0.022; S–T: p = 0.010). Secondary-level nurses also scored significantly higher across all three sections (S–P: p = 0.044; S–T: p = 0.025) than those at the other levels.

Conclusions: The study found that nurses across all levels of healthcare had only moderate knowledge regarding identification and management of stroke-related OPD. Interdisciplinary collaboration between nurses and speech–language therapists may improve nurses’ knowledge in identification and management of stroke-related OPD in lower middle-income settings such as South Africa.


Keywords

oropharyngeal dysphagia; dysphagia screening; stroke-related dysphagia; nurse; interdisciplinary collaboration; South Africa; lower middle-income country; survey.

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