Measuring the quality of dysphagia management practices following stroke: a systematic review

Julie Luker, Kylie Goring, Julie Bernhardt, Ian Edwards, Karen Grimmer-Somers

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    Adherence to recommended clinical practices improves stroke outcomes. As a result, stroke clinicians are increasingly expected to evaluate the quality of the care they provide so that areas for improvement can be targeted. Finding the best method to evaluate the quality of dysphagia management can be challenging.Aim To systematically review process indicators used to assess the quality of care provided to patients with dysphagia following acute stroke and examine the level of evidence underpinning these indicators.Methods Databases were systematically searched to identify publications (January 2006-April 2009) that describe process indicators relating to the clinical management of acute stroke-related dysphagia. Relevant process indicators were extracted from the reviewed publications for detailed post hoc analysis including supporting evidence and alignment to the current Australian and English stroke guidelines.Results Title and abstract review found 150 potential studies. Full-text review resulted in 25 publications that met the study's inclusion criteria. Thirteen process indicators were identified in the literature that related to the initial assessment, clinical management, rehabilitation and discharge planning for patients with acute stroke-related dysphagia. These processes were supported by levels of evidence ranging from high 'level 1' (8%) down to 'expert opinion' evidence (46%). Two process indicators did not align to recommendations in the clinical guidelines. This systematic review underpins informed selection of process indicators for evaluating the quality of dysphagia management following stroke. The selection of quality indicators is complicated by equivocal supporting evidence; however, indicators should reflect expected local practices, align with national stroke guidelines and be feasible for clinical auditing.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)466-476
    Number of pages11
    JournalInternational Journal of Stroke
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


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