The purpose of Nutrition and Hydration Week is to promote:
• The 10 Key Characteristics for Good Nutritional Care
• Protected Mealtimes
• Nutrition Advocates for each health or social care setting
• The minimum standards for good nutrition in the respective settings
• Highlighting Good Nutrition and Hydration Practices
• Continued Education for professionals on good nutrition and hydration
At Dysphagia Kitchen we support the Nutrition & Hydration Week initiative, and we want to use this opportunity to share the importance of nutrition and hydration for those people with dysphagia.
Dysphagia is the term used to describe swallowing difficulties and malnutrition is a severe complication of dysphagia. Studies suggest up to 50% individual with dysphagia are at risk of malnutrition and 16% are malnourished1.
There are numerous reasons why a person with dysphagia becomes malnourished or is at increased risk of malnutrition. These reasons may include:
- inadequate food and fluid intake following changes to the recommended consistency of food and fluid that is safe to consume as advised by a speech and language therapist
- inadequate provision of nutritious texture modified food and fluid
- taking longer to eat a meal therefore a person may lose interest, or the meal goes cold therefore the meal becomes unappetising.
It is important that nutritional screening is undertaken to identify those at risk of malnutrition, particularly if they have dysphagia. Nutritional screening is recommended using tools such as MUST (Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool). This 5-step screening tool can be used to identify adults who are malnourished or are at risk of malnutrition across a range of different settings e.g. hospitals, care homes, and can be used by all care workers2.
Nutritional screening should be undertaken on a regular basis as a person’s clinical condition and nutritional problems can change.
As part of Nutrition & Hydration Week we encourage you to raise awareness of nutritional screening in your care setting and do a quick audit to ensure all people in your care have been recently screened and appropriate nutrition intervention has been implemented.
As part of the Dysphagia Kitchen training programme, we are able to provide training on malnutrition and dysphagia, including nutritional screening. If you are interested in learning more about our training, contact us here.
1. Tagliaferri S, Lauretani F, Pelá G, Meschi T, Maggio M. The risk of dysphagia is associated with malnutrition and poor functional outcomes in a large population of outpatient older individuals. Clinical Nutrition [Internet]. 2019;38(6):2684–9