Case 4: Thomas (Swallow screen)

A picture of ThomasThomas is a 43 year old builder who self presented at the A&E department of his local hospital. He arrived at 7.30am having woken that morning with right arm weakness and slurred speech. He was assessed in the A&E department and then admitted to the medical receiving unit for further investigation. The diagnosis of stroke was confirmed by a CT scan which showed an infarct, he remained in the medical receiving unit and was transferred to the stroke unit the following day.

A nurse in the stroke unit noted that Thomas was coughing and she checked his medical records to see if a swallow screen had been carried out. There was no evidence of this in Thomas’ records although it did state that he had eaten his breakfast. The nurse carried out a swallow screen, which Thomas failed. Thomas was referred to speech and language therapy for further assessment and he was informed that he should not eat or drink until this had been carried out. (See the Clinical standards topic loop below for further information.)

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Page last reviewed: 16 Sep 2020