Tenth edition

Newsletter No 10: The Dysphagia Issue | Dual Diagnosis | Updated Interventions | The Carers Perspective | Resource (Cracking Recipes) and Recipe (Puree Foods) of the Month…

Dementia Friendly Mealtimes Newsletter (March 2017)

This month we have a focus on oral abilities, oral behaviours and swallowing difficulties (dysphagia), three intricately linked common symptoms and medical conditions associated with advancing dementia.

As mentioned in the January newsletter I am updating all the evidenced based interventions suggested in The DMAT online system to enhance mealtime abilities. I have started this update with the oral abilities and oral behaviours section with updates for the other three sections to follow. To access the updated interventions just logon to your DMAT account here or if you need to create an account just follow this link and sign up for a free 30 day trial.

The research article in this months newsletter provides a great overview of assessing and treating dysphagia in dementia. I was very happy to see The DMAT mentioned as one of the assessment tools and also happy to read that all the treatment interventions mentioned in the paper were already included in the recent DMAT update (access paper here).

Also included this month is an excellent article by Beth Britton, dementia campaigner, entitled ‘Hard To Swallow‘ helping to provide an informal carers perspective on managing swallowing difficulties.

Finally the Resource & Recipe of the Month are both based around providing tasty, attractive and nutritious texture modified diets. Texture modified foods are often the main treatment option for swallowing difficulties and these excellent resources show how these foods can be produced to a high standard that people will want to eat!

Dysphagia in Persons with Dementia: The Dual Diagnosis Challenge 

This is an excellent research paper found in the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Gerontology group journal explaining the dual diagnosis challenge of both dementia and dysphagia (found here). As you can see from the image above it includes a discussion on assessment tools used to identify swallowing difficulties and/or a change in oral abilities and behaviours. Apart from oral pharyngeal swallow skills the table also highlights if these assessment tools look at other important mealtime factors related to these skills including quality of life, hydration & nutrition, cognition and environmental factors. It was very nice to see that The DMAT is the only assessment tool that considers all these other important mealtime factors both in its assessment but importantly in the interventions suggested by The DMAT to support the oral pharyngeal swallow skills.

NEW & UPDATED Evidenced Based Interventions for Supporting Oral Abilities & Behaviours at Mealtimes

To access the full range of evidenced based interventions for supporting the commonly observed oral abilities and behaviours listed in The DMAT’s Measurement Form shown in the image above just logon to The DMAT online system (here). You can access The DMAT free for 30 days just, create an account by following the link below.

Excellent practical and real life caring thoughts and advice from dementia campaigner Beth Britton

Beth Britton produces a very good blog about the realities of caring for someone living with dementia (her dad) and I always enjoy reading her posts. This is one of her best and highlights the issues that arise with swallowing difficulties as dementia advances as well as providing some frank and honest discussion, along with very useful practical tips, for implementing the interventions used to support someone with dysphagia.

Resource of the month!

Every month our resource of the month is a freely accessible web based resource, except this one this month. Sorry about that, however with the theme this month being supporting swallowing difficulties I had to mention these two books by chef Peter Morgan-Jones produced by Hammond Care Dementia Centre in Australia (see here). As the main intervention for people with a swallowing difficulty is texture modified food making sure whoever is caring for this person provides attractively presented and tasty foods suitable for a texture modified diet (TMD) is extremely important. These two books pictured above certainly help raise the profile of texture modified foods and will provide you with some brilliant tasty recipes an ideas to improve your texture modified meals.

Recipe of the month!

Although our ‘Resource of The Month’ above is also a recipe based resource providing texture modified foods that look and taste nice can be a challenge. Therefore our ‘Recipe of the Month’ (found here) is also based on this topic and links to a really good set of puree food recipes using thickening agents and food moulds to create good looking meals.
You can find more cooking ideas and dementia mealtime information on The DMAT Pinterest boards and on our YouTube channel. Just click on the Pinterest and YouTube logos below and take a look.

Thanks for reading, see you next month

Lee Martin MSc RD


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