The intervention explored in this use case relates to a new approach to identifying, assessing and managing swallowing difficulties (or dysphagia), which is a precipitating factor for aspiration, pneumonia, malnutrition, poor rehabilitation, lengthier hospital stays, and a reduced quality of life. It is also an independent predictor of poor patient outcome and death.
Although swallowing assessments by Speech and Language Therapists (SLT) currently exist, their services require either admission to a facility or organisation of community visits. A reduction in time taken to undertake a swallowing assessment from ninety minutes for a home visit to thirty minutes for a Teleswallow assessment has been demonstrated, thereby improving productivity and releasing capacity to address waiting lists and other staffing pressures.
As a result of the Teleswallowing system, none of the patients involved in the pilot were admitted to hospital nor required a home visit.