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AN EXPLORATORY STUDY OF THE MEALTIME EXPERIENCE OF OLDER PEOPLE WITH DYSPHAGIA

S. Ullrich, J. Buckley, J. Crichton, A. Esterman

J Aging Res Clin Practice 2014;3(4):229-236

People with dysphagia are at high risk of malnutrition. To maintain safe oral intake, solid food may be texture modified but this is associated with a reduction in the enjoyment of the eating experience. A recent approach to improving the enjoyment of eating texture-modified food has been to mould the food into the shape of the food that has been modified. The aim of this exploratory study was to describe and explain the mealtime experience of older people with dysphagia. Design: Qualitative and exploratory. Participants: In total, thirty five participants (nursing, care workers, lifestyle assistants, catering staff and residents) were involved in non-participant observations and individual interviews for the qualitative assessment of the eating experience. Intervention: Moulded texture-modified food. The intervention occurred at lunchtime for a period of 3 consecutive days. Qualitative assessment: Non-participant observations and individual interviews were conducted before and after the intervention. Analysis: Interpretative, descriptive and explanatory. Findings: Residents with dysphagia are separated from the dining experience and fostering good relationships between residents at mealtimes may lessen the effects of the challenging eating behaviours that often isolate residents with dysphagia from the dining environment. Non-moulded texture-modified food was viewed negatively by all participants and contributed to problems of interaction between care staff and residents by weakening those conversations and interactions that underpin the social dining experience. Residents also experienced difficulties adjusting to texture-modified food. Conclusion: Residents’ experience of adjustment to texture-modified food is difficult and non-moulded texture-modified meal that is unrecognisable and indescribable creates a problem of interaction between care staff and residents during mealtimes. The implementation of moulded texture-modified food has resulted in positive qualitative outcomes in the perception of texture-modified food and has improved the verbal interaction between care staff and residents.

CITATION:
S. Ullrich ; J. Buckley ; J. Crichton ; A. Esterman (2014): AN EXPLORATORY STUDY OF THE MEALTIME EXPERIENCE OF OLDER PEOPLE WITH DYSPHAGIA. The Journal of Aging Research and Clinical Practice (JARCP). http://dx.doi.org/10.14283/jarcp.2014.40

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