This week Nat Jones @natlouj will be hosting the chat.
My research is focused on the experience of stroke survivors with managing eating difficulties (Jones 2016) however more broadly I am passionate about how Occupational Therapists can support children and adults to manage eating activities. I am interested in your views on the role of Occupational Therapy is in this area, what strategies are successful and which assistive devices help?
So why is this important?
There is a growing awareness of the aging population and the concern for potential increases in dependency on health and welfare against a backdrop of people living for longer with multiple health conditions. In response to recent research and current health policy the government have commissioned several reports that highlight the importance of managing eating difficulties in healthcare settings. The Francis Report and the Malnutrition Task Force Report 2013 have galvanised the need for health professionals to take action to address this critical issue.
The risks of not eating sufficiently are well documented (Finestone et al. 1995, Westergren et al, 2002). If people don’t eat well it can result in malnutrition, reduced muscle strength and low mood which have been linked to higher mortality rates (McLaren & Dickerson 2000). To prevent nutritional complications the Royal College of Physicians National Guidelines for Stroke (ISWP 2016) and the National Institute of Clinical Care and Excellence guidelines (NICE Guideline 2006) advocate that people with feeding difficulties are provided with appropriate support and assistive devices to help.
There has been an increase in calls for researchers and clinicians to think about the challenges faced by people with eating difficulties. Occupational Therapists can make a significant contribution to identifying barriers to independence and co-creating solutions. I am interested to hear your views on what you think the role of Occupational Therapy is in helping children and adults to manage eating difficulties, the challenges you have faced and whether you think the current products/disability devices meet with needs of people with eating difficulties.
Questions for consideration:
1. What do you consider the role of Occupational Therapy to be in supporting children/adults with eating difficulties and what is our unique contribution?
2. Are there any devices and/or strategies you would recommend?
3. Do you think there are any gaps in technology/devices to assist with eating activities?
4. What is your view on the psychological impact of eating difficulties?
5. Ideas for new innovations let’s share…
Finestone, H.M. et al., 1995. Malnutrition in stroke patients on the rehabilitation service and at follow-up: prevalence and predictors. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation, 76, pp.310–316
ISWP- Intercollegiate Stroke Working Party (2016) National Clinical Guideline for stroke London: Royal College of Physicians. Available at: http://www.rcplondon.ac.uk.
Jones, N. (2016) ‘Experiences of stroke survivors with managing eating in the longer term. ‘British Journal of Occupational Therapy 78, (8) available at:bjo. sagepub. com
McLaren, S.M.G. & Dickerson, J.W.T, 2000. Measurement of eating disability in an acute stroke population. Clinical Effectiveness in Nursing, 4(3), pp.109–120. Available at: http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1361900400901286.
Westergren, A., Ohlsson, O. & Hallberg, I.R., 2002. Eating diffculties in relation to gender , length of stay , and discharge to institutional care , among patients in stroke rehabilitation. Disability and rehabilitation, 24(10), pp.523–533.
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