SIG 13 Perspectives Vol. 21, No. 3, October 2012
This issue of Perspectives focuses on feeding and swallowing disorders associated with dementia. We begin with an overview of neurodegenerative dementias with focus on diagnostic criteria, pathogenesis, clinical manifestation, risk factors, current treatments, and overall implications upon oral intake. We further explore the impact of apraxia when correlated with dementia and its confounding impact on meal times and swallow function as the disease process exacerbates. In addition, we present a study of the early onset of clinical indicators in mild Alzheimer’s disease processes in relation to swallow function and preservation of independent feeding and swallowing skills; authors note that alterations in feeding skills, cortical control, and deglutitive physiology are altered prior to complaints of reduced swallow function. We propose use of spaced retrieval as a functional therapeutic technique to treat patients with dementia and concomitant dysphagia. Finally, we include a reminder to be cognizant of the need for family/caregiver education to enhance informed care via diagnostic means, nutritional support, objective rating scale performance, and physiological parameters indicative of overall health. In this light, we can serve the family and patient as a support and better give them the opportunity to make informed choices to maximize preservation of swallow function and independence for their loved one.
You will be able to:
- explain the current research regarding the use of gastrostomy tubes in the dementia population
- outline the potential benefits of utilizing spaced retrieval strategies with patients diagnosed with dementia
- discuss the different types of dementias and their identifying characteristics
- recognize feeding and swallowing patterns common among patients with dementia
- describe movement disorders indicative of apraxia in dementia
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