When Patients Refuse Recommendations for Dysphagia Treatment Clinical management of dysphagia may range from minor modifications in positioning the patient, to significant restrictions in food textures, to recommending that the patient should not eat orally at all. Although most patients with dysphagia agree to follow the recommendations of the healthcare team, some patients elect not to. ... Article
Article  |   October 01, 2005
When Patients Refuse Recommendations for Dysphagia Treatment
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Helen M. Sharp
    Department of Speech Pathology & Audiology, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Articles
Article   |   October 01, 2005
When Patients Refuse Recommendations for Dysphagia Treatment
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), October 2005, Vol. 14, 3-7. doi:10.1044/sasd14.3.3
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), October 2005, Vol. 14, 3-7. doi:10.1044/sasd14.3.3
Clinical management of dysphagia may range from minor modifications in positioning the patient, to significant restrictions in food textures, to recommending that the patient should not eat orally at all. Although most patients with dysphagia agree to follow the recommendations of the healthcare team, some patients elect not to. One study found that as many as 40% of patients with dysphagia who were capable of independent feeding chose not to follow all of the speech-language pathologist’s recommendations (Colodny, 2005).
Dysphagia specialists face complex ethical questions when a patient refuses recommendations for treatment. If the clinician facilitates unsafe oral intake, he or she feels responsible if the patient becomes ill or dies of respiratory complications. If the clinician discharges the patient without dysphagia services, he or she may worry about abandoning the patient.
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