Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version



Kreuzberg, L. (2020). A qualitative analysis of the barriers faced by nursing assistants and medication aides in the care of dysphagia residents. Undergraduate Honors Program. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Lauren Kreuzberg 2020.


Dysphagia refers to the symptom of difficulty in swallowing that accompanies several prevalent conditions in the older adult population, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease), stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, dementia, various cancers, and brain tumors (Allari, 2014). Many older adults who suffer from these conditions reside in nursing facilities, where most of their care is provided by certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and medication aides (MAs). However, the extent of these workers’ knowledge and competence in providing care to nursing home residents with dysphagia is vastly under-researched. The qualitative analysis investigates themes among interviews with fifteen CNAs and MAs regarding their experiences and perceived barriers caring for residents with dysphagia. The participants identified barriers to providing excellent dysphagia care including low staff to resident ratio, lack of proper education, and dietary issues. The responses show the need for dysphagia care education in the formal CNA and MA training and during on-the-job training. Though additional research is needed, there seems to be an immediate need for intervention in educating frontline workers about how to care for residents with dysphagia in a safe, dignified manner.