Typically, around 85% of people will experience swallowing problems, medically known as dysphasia, at the end-of-life. What this means is that your loved one, or someone you care for, has trouble swallowing food, liquids, or both.

This is a 4-part series on Alzheimer’s Care and Swallowing Problems, and this episode is focused on The Basics.

  • In Part 1, I talked about the Basics of Swallowing Problems;
  • In Part 2, I talked about how to Modify Textures + Flavor  Building; and
  • In Part 3, I talked about what Adaptive Equipment is and how to use it.

If you missed an episode, you can check them out where you found this one – or on my YouTube Channel, MelissaBPhD.

✔️ MAIN POINT 1: BASICS OF OFFERING FEEDING ASSISTANCE

  • Sit with the person during meals
  • Eat together if possible
  • Make eye contact
  • Offer verbal, visual, and sensorimotor cues
  • Offer small amounts of food at a slow, consistent rate

✔️ MAIN POINT 2: MAXIMIZE INDEPENDENCE FOR SELF-FEEDING

  • Verbal and Visual Cues
  • NOSH adds Sensorimotor Cue with Handfeeding Techniques
  • Use of finger foods if utensils are hard to manage:
    • Best for Regular and Mechanical Soft Diets
      • Sandwiches
      • Ice Cream
      • Frozen Yogurts
      • Chicken Nuggets

✔️ MAIN POINT 3: HANDFEEDING TECHNIQUES

  • Developed for persons living with Alzheimer’s Disease, but can be used for other difficulties
    • Limited range of motion in upper arm, elbows, shoulder
    • Tremors
    • Limited dexterity of hands, fingers
    • Arm weakness
    • Lack of endurance to self-feed for an entire meal

✔️ MAIN POINT 4: GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR HOW AND WHEN TO USE EACH HANDFEEDING TECHNIQUE

  • Sit on the dominant side of the person you are assisting
  • Tailor amount of support to their ability in the moment
  • Promote self-feeding as much as possible
  • To assist:
    • Start with Over Hand,
    • Then Under Hand,
    • And save Direct Hand for those who are typically dependent

 

Many people in my studies had not fed themselves for a year or two. When we started using the handfeeding techniques with them — many started feeding themselves again.

Visit https://melissabphd.com/nosh__courses/ for videos demonstrating the different handfeeding techniques.

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About Melissa:

Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN. I am a nurse, nurse practitioner, nurse educator and nurse researcher with over 25 years of experience in the aging and long-term care healthcare space. You can visit my website at MelissaBPhD.com to learn more about me, how you can work with me directly,
and/or support future episodes of the podcast. Within the first 18 months of launching this podcast, we reached a ranking of top 10% globally. I have all of you who’ve been with me on this journey so far to thank for that!

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Find out more about her work HERE.