AHS Water Protocol: Knowledge Translation of a Paradigm Shift in Dysphagia Management

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  • Dysphagia is a common symptom of a variety of medical conditions. The traditional treatment employed to avoid aspiration pneumonia for individuals with thin liquid dysphagia has been the use of thickened liquids (Karagiannis, Chivers, & Karagiannis, 2011). However, recent research indicates that allowing individuals with thin liquid dysphagia access to water in addition to thickened liquids results in better hydration without increasing incidences of pneumonia (Carlaw et al., 2012; Garon, Engle, & Ormiston, 1997; Murray, Doeltgen, Miller, & Scholten, 2016; Pooyania, Vandurme, Daun, & Buchel, 2015). The purpose of this project was to collaborate with the Alberta Health Services (AHS) Provincial Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) Practice Council to assist in the development and implementation of a provincial clinical protocol for identifying individuals with dysphagia who may benefit from drinking thin water. This project focused on knowledge translation to current health care professionals across Canada to communicate current evidence and shifting practice patterns in the use of thickened liquids and water protocols in institutional settings. These goals were attained by conducting an evidence-based review of the literature and disseminating the findings to help enhance the quality of care of individuals coping with swallowing disorders. This paper includes an evaluation of the team’s end-of-grant knowledge translation efforts.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International