Dr Nicola Clayton1,2, Ms Caroline Nicholls1,3, Miss Karen Blazquez2, Prof Peter Maitz1, Dr Andrea Issler-Fisher1
1Burns Unit, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Australia, 2Speech Pathology Department, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Australia, 3Nutrition & Dietetics Department, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Australia
Background: Management of the elderly burn patient is complex with evidence indicating that advanced age is associated with elevated risk for morbidity and mortality from the time of admission. The presence of dysphagia and its sequelae in this population may further increase this risk.
Purpose: To identify a set of risk factors and develop a risk factor model for patients over the age of 75 years, admitted with severe burn injury, that are at increased risk for dysphagia and its sequelae.
Methods: All patients over the age of 75 admitted to Concord Repatriation General Hospital with severe injury over a 4 year period, were assessed for presence of dysphagia at admission and continually monitored over the course of their admission. Key data points captured included: burn size and location, premorbid medical history including premorbid level of cognitive level of functioning, presence of dysphagia at admission and throughout admission, nutrition assessment and indication for nutrition support, number of surgical procedures requiring general anaesthetic, medical complications during admission and discharge destination.
Results & Conclusion: Preliminary findings illustrate that regardless of burn location, advanced age and necessity for surgical procedures requiring general anaesthetic increase a patients risk for dysphagia and dysphagia related complications. Further detailed analysis will be explored and presented.
Dr Nicola Clayton is a highly experienced clinical specialist Speech Pathologist who has been affiliated with the Burns Unit at Concord Repatriation General Hospital for over 12 years. She is passionate about burns research and completed her PhD in this area in 2016.