Article Abstract

Care staff perspective on use of texture modified food in care home residents with dysphagia and dementia

Authors: Lise Birgitte Austbø Holteng, Christina Tølbøl Frøiland, Anne Corbett, Ingelin Testad

Abstract

Background: Dysphagia and dementia are conditions, which combined, can lead to complications for the person and require good nutritional care. There is very little evidence-based literature regarding nutritional care for people with dysphagia and dementia. It is clear that care staff plays a vital role, and that communication and informed decision-making are critical to the process, yet little is known regarding the use of available interventions such as texture modified food (TMF), and their acceptability and feasibility for care staff and residents. Therefore the aim of this study was to investigate the experiences of care staff when providing nutritional care for people with dysphagia and dementia, and their impressions and experience of using TMF as a new intervention for nutrition.
Methods: This was a qualitative study with an inductive approach, which aimed to explore the experience of care staff using TMF in a care home setting. Data were collected using focus group interviews, an approach which is validated as a means of supporting and developing the understanding of a phenomenon, through interactions and discussions in the group. Participants were care staff working in a care home setting in Norway.
Results: Twelve participants were recruited to this study across two focus groups. The cohort included four nurses, six practical nurses, one nurse assistants and one student nurse. Four main categories emerged from the focus group discussions regarding the use of TMF. These were: (I) emotional strain; (II) deficient nutritional care; (III) increased self-efficacy with use of TMF; (IV) better nutritional care with TMF.
Conclusions: Use of TMF to improve nutritional care for people with dysphagia appears to have merit for both residents and care staff, and should be considered as a means of improving nutritional care for people with dementia in care homes. Minimizing feeding difficulties and increasing nutritional intake is an important goal when caring for this vulnerable group of people, and there is a need to provide better training and support for care staff to ensure they feel confident and empowered to provide high quality nutritional care. The existing Norwegian Directorate of Health checklist for nutritional care may provide a helpful basis for improvements to guidance that accounts for the needs of staff and institutions. Further research and evaluation of an intervention for tailored nutritional care is warranted to improve this critical aspect of dementia care.

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