DOI: 10.3390/healthcare12060649 ISSN: 2227-9032

The Prevalence of Dysphagia in Individuals Living in Residential Aged Care Facilities: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Hollie Roberts, Kelly Lambert, Karen Walton
  • Health Information Management
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Policy
  • Leadership and Management

Dysphagia commonly affects older adults, making them nutritionally vulnerable. There is significant variation in the reported prevalence of dysphagia in aged care. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to determine the prevalence of dysphagia in individuals living in residential aged care facilities using appropriate assessment methods, and in four subgroups at higher risk: individuals with nervous system diseases, dementia, malnutrition, and poor dentition. Scopus, Web of Science, Medline, and CINAHL Plus were searched, and study selection was conducted in Covidence. Meta-analysis using a random effects model was used to obtain the pooled prevalence of dysphagia. Seven studies were eligible for inclusion. Dysphagia prevalence ranged from 16 to 69.6%. The pooled prevalence of dysphagia was 56.11% (95% CI 39.363–72.172, p < 0.0001, I2 = 98.61%). Sensitivity analysis examining the prevalence of dysphagia using only the CSE indicated a pooled prevalence of 60.90% (95% CI 57.557–64.211, p = 0.9994, I2 = 0%). Only one study each reported on dysphagia prevalence in individuals with nervous system diseases (31%), poor dentition (92%), and dementia (68.4%), meaning that meta-analysis could not be completed. No studies reported on the prevalence of dysphagia in individuals with malnutrition. The prevalence of dysphagia is high amongst residents of aged care facilities. This evidence should be used to guide improvements in the health outcomes and quality of life of aged care residents. Future research should explore the prevalence in the subgroups at higher risk.

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