Dysphagia awareness among dietitians

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Gökçen Garipoğlu


Deglutition, Deglutition Disorder, Dysphagia, Dietitian, Awareness


Objective: This study was conducted to determine dieticians’ awareness of dysphagia, as they have an important role in the screening and diagnosis of dysphagia. In terms of being the first study about dysphagia awareness of dietitians in Turkey, the study is of great importance. Methods: The study was conducted between November-December 2013 including 85 dietitians who volunteered to participate in the research from University Hospitals and Education and Research Hospitals in Ankara, Turkey. Through a face-to-face interview or email to dietitians participating in the study, they completed a questionnaire that included questions about their working time, dysphagia symptoms, diagnostic methods, and dietary practices. Findings: Of dietitians, 35.3% said that they frequently encounter patients with dysphagia and 7.1% of them didn’t. The awareness scores of dieticians in terms of recognition of dysphagia symptoms vary from 0 to 12, with an average of 5.2+2.7 and a median score of 5. The most common aware of dysphagia symptoms were coughing and suffocation (77.6%) during meals. There was no significant difference between the awareness scores and the study period and the units they worked in (p>0.05). 82.4% of the dieticians didn’t receive any training about dysphagia after undergraduate and postgraduate education. Conclusion: This study shows that dieticians do not have enough knowledge about dysphagia symptoms. Dietitians training in this area may provide an important contribution to reducing the negative consequences of dysphagia.

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