• Project led by Derbyshire County Primary Care Trust.
  • Focused on patients with dysphagia across Derbyshire's health and social care system.
  • Aimed to identify dysphagia patients at an early stage, assess their needs rapidly and reduce the need for hospital admission.
  • Developed a range of interventions to equip care and nursing staff with the skills and knowledge to manage dysphagia in a safe and timely way.

The team at Derbyshire Community Health Services developed a county-wide approach for managing patients with dysphagia (swallowing difficulties). The project aimed to identify patients with dysphagia at an early stage, assess their needs rapidly and reduce the need for hospital admission.

The project team worked with existing partnerships across the health and social care community to equip care and nursing staff with the skills and knowledge to manage dysphagia in a safe and timely way. Interventions included:

  • increasing the number of dysphagia-trained nurses in nursing homes
  • establishing clear pathways of communication and collaboration with speech and language therapists in the community
  • implementing care plans focusing on maximising the safety of the swallow and anticipating likely changes
  • monitoring the quality and effectiveness of care for patients with dysphagia
  • promoting use of a free online learning package about dysphagia for all staff who assist at mealtimes
  • collating examples of good practice to facilitate shared learning
  • embedding evidence-based practice in health and social care policy, protocols, practice guidelines and training.

Who was involved

The project engaged people across a wide range of health and social care organisations in Derbyshire to ensure the sustainability of the new whole-system approach.

Further reading