Swallowing is a complex process that requires the coordinated action of muscles in the tongue, pharynx, and esophagus. Many conditions, such as altered mental status; gastroesophageal reflux disease; endotracheal intubation and tube feedings; or neurological problems, such as stroke, dementia, and brain injury; increase the risk for aspiration. Nurses need to work closely with other interprofessional team members (speech-language pathologists, physicians, dietitians, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists) to assess and manage patients at risk for aspiration to prevent the dangerous complications of aspiration pneumonitis and aspiration pneumonia. Healthcare professionals often care for patients who are at significant risk for aspiration; therefore, it is important for all healthcare professionals to recognize and manage those risk factors to protect their patients.
The goal of this continuing education program is to educate nurses, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, and physicians about how to identify patients at risk for aspiration and how to protect patients from aspirating. After studying the information presented here, you will be able to:
- Describe the three stages of normal swallowing
- Identify seven risk factors for aspiration
- List six strategies healthcare professionals can use to reduce the risk of aspiration
Content Level: Intermediate
Instructional Method: Online Course — Clinical Vignette & Narrative
Domain of OT: Areas of Occupation
Domain of OT: Client Factors
Occupational Therapy Process: Evaluation
This course is intended for multiple professions, including nurses, speech-language pathologists, EMTs and paramedics, occupational therapists, physical therapists, respiratory therapists and physicians.
Occupational therapists: Take this version of the course to ensure you receive appropriate credit.
For the version accredited or approved for another profession, go to your specific profession at www.continuingeducation.com
. If you have a CE Direct login ID and password (generally provided by your employer), please log in as you normally would at lms.nurse.com
and search for this topic title.
OnCourse Learning is an approved provider of continuing education for occupational therapists by the American Occupational Therapy Association.
OnCourse Learning is also accredited by the Florida Board of Occupational Therapy (provider # FBN 50-1489).
Course Originally Released on:
Date of Most Recent Review:
Course Termination/Update Date:
Unless stated above, the planners and authors of this course have declared no relevant conflicts of interest that relate to this educational activity. OnCourse Learning guarantees this educational activity is free from bias.
Please see CE Course Instructions to learn how to earn CE credit for this module.
For Florida professionals:
This course completion will be electronically reported to CE Broker as required per Florida Statute 456.025(7). Click here to view your CE Broker transcript and check the status of your CE requirements with a FREE 7-day CE Broker trial subscription. It may take up to 24 hours for the course to appear on your CE Broker transcript.
It is now required that all CE is completed and reported to CE Broker before you renew your license. When you complete continuing education with us, OnCourse Learning will report your hours for you.
Read more about the new license renewal process at AreYouRenewalReady.com and claim your free Basic Account in CE Broker to see what has already been reported for you.
Please check the licenses/certifications section under my account (after logging in) to make sure you have entered a valid FL license number. This information is required for correct reporting of your course completions to CE Broker.