The effectiveness of targeted feeding assistance to improve the nutritional intake of elderly dysphagic patients in hospital

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Abstract

Background

Dysphagic older patients are prescribed texture modified food or fluids as treatment. The present study aimed to determine whether targeted feeding assistance using trained volunteers increased oral intake in elderly dysphagic patients.

Method

Individualized feeding assistance was given to patients who were diagnosed with dysphagia by a speech and language therapist. Data were collected between 08.00 h and 16.00 h and compared with previously collected data from dysphagic patients who received no targeted feeding assistance.

Results

The group with targeted assistance (n = 16) had higher intakes of energy and protein from both meals and supplements combined compared to the controls (n = 30); mean difference = 2327 kJ (554 kcal) (95% CI = 1294–3360 kJ; P < 0.001) and 28 g protein (95% CI = 13–41 g; P = 0.01). The assisted group ate more from meals only; mean difference = 1336 kJ (318 kcal) (95% Cl = 517–2155 kJ; P = 0.002) and 6 g of protein (95% Cl = 2–26 g; P = 0.02); and from nutritional supplements only, median difference = 1205 kJ (287 kcal) (95% CI = 613–1273 kJ; P = 0.0002) and 15 g protein (95% CI 6.9–15 g; P < 0.0001).

Conclusion

Nutritional intake can be improved by targeted feeding assistance in hospitalized elderly dysphagic patients on texture modified diets.

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