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Eating/Feeding Issues in Dementia: Improving the Dining Experience
  1. Louisa Stone, Care Home Facilitator in End-of-Life Care
  1. Care Home Project Team, St Christopher’s Hospice, London. Email: l.stone{at}stchristophers.org.uk

Abstract

People with dementia can have problems eating/feeding, which puts them at risk of malnutrition. There are various reasons why people with dementia find eating and/or feeding problematic, including difficulty co-ordinating movements in order to get food into their mouths, difficulty maintaining attention on eating, dysphagia, level of cognitive and physical impairment, resistance to care, agitation and psychological symptoms such as depression and apathy. It has been recognised that the environment is a crucial factor that can have an impact upon people with dementia in terms of improving their quality of life. This can also be true of the dining environment. It has been suggested that a dining environment that is welcoming, relaxing and comfortable has the potential to increase food intake and social interaction, which can make the eating/feeding experience more enjoyable and thereby minimise eating/feeding difficulties in people with dementia living in care homes. This article will consider the possible causes of eating/feeding difficulties in people with dementia living in care homes and the environmental factors that may enhance the dining experience. Conflicts of interest: none

  • Care homes
  • Dementia
  • Eating difficulties
  • Environment
  • Feeding difficulties

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