Experiences of Dysphagia after Stroke: An Interview Study of Stroke Survivors and Their Informal Caregivers

Geriatrics (Basel). 2019 Dec 7;4(4):67. doi: 10.3390/geriatrics4040067.


(1) Background: Swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) after stroke are not uncommon and is a consistent risk factor for stroke-associated pneumonia. This interview study explores the perspectives of stroke survivors, who had their swallowing assessed in the first few days of admission to hospital, and their informal caregivers. (2) Methods: A participatory approach was used involving people affected by stroke in the interpretation and analysis of the interview data. Data was thematically analysed and six themes were identified. (3) Results: These themes included how past-future experiences may influence a person's emotional response to events; understanding what is happening and adjustment; the impact of dysphagia; attitudes to care; communication to patients and procedural issues. (4) Conclusion: The findings highlight the importance of effective public health messages to improve people's responsiveness to the signs of stroke, standardisation of assessment and management procedures, effective communication to patients about the consequences of dysphagia, and the impact of dysphagia on the person who had the stroke and their informal caregiver.

Keywords: acute stroke; dysphagia; patient and public involvement; thematic analysis.