Traumatic Brain Injury, Dysphagia, and the Ethics of Oral Intake

Author(s): Michael Martin, MBE, BSN, RN, NPD-BC, CCRN, Sarah Kendall, MSN, RN, CEN, Melissa Kurtz Uveges, PhD, MA, RN

Contact Hours 1.00

CERP B 1.00

Expires Sep 01, 2026

Topics: Ethics, Neurology

Population: Geriatric

Member: Free
NonMember: $10.00

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Activity Summary

Required reading for all learners: Implicit Bias impacts patient outcomes

TBI is characterized by both cognitive and motor impairment, secondary complications related to chronic illness (headaches, vertigo, seizures), and psychological impacts on both individuals and their loved ones. Individuals suffering from TBI often require acute rehabilitation and long-term assistance with ADLs. Dysphagia, defined as a “swallowing disorder,” is common in individuals with a TBI and increases the risk of mortality and morbidity. Moreover, individuals with dysphagia may incur costs associated with additional health care services, resulting in a higher economic burden. Dysphagia necessitates ongoing, complex management of nutritional needs under the guidance of interdisciplinary teams, including physicians, speech-language pathologists (SLPs), and nurses. SLPs play an integral role in evaluating swallowing disorders and offering recommendations for meeting an individual’s nutritional needs safely.


  • Identify considerations for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), including the evaluation and management of dysphagia.
  • Describe ethical considerations for management of dysphagia and oral intake, including capacity assessment and surrogate decision-making.
  • Explain how an individual's "capacity for preferences" supports ethical decision-making and patient-family-centered care.

Continuing Education Disclosure Statement

Successful Completion

Learners must attend/view/read the entire activity, read Implicit Bias impacts patient outcomes, and complete the associated evaluation to be awarded the contact hours or CERP. No partial credit will be awarded.


The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider number CEP 1036, for 1.00 contact hours.

Accreditation refers to recognition of continuing education only and does not imply AACN, ANCC, or CBRN approval or endorsement of any commercial products discussed or displayed in conjunction with this educational activity.


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AACN programming meets the standards for most states that require mandatory continuing education contact hours for license and/or certification renewal. AACN recommends consulting with your state board of nursing or credentialing organization before submitting CE to fulfill continuing education requirements.

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