Modified Diet

Angie Szumlinski
|
July 2, 2024
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I was excited to read an article titled “widespread, long-held practice in Dementia called into question”. The article discussed the long-time practice of ordering a “dysphagia diet” for residents living with dementia. Investigators found no evidence that the use of thickened liquids reduced mortality or respiratory complications, such as pneumonia, aspiration, or choking, compared with thin-liquid diets in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) and dysphagia. 

The researchers compared outcomes with a patient group of 4458 patients. They found no significant difference in hospital mortality between the thick liquids and thin liquids groups. In fact, although patients receiving thick liquids were less likely to require intubation, they were more likely to develop respiratory complications! There was no significant difference in terms of risk for dehydration, hospital length of stay, or rate of 30-day readmission. 

Before you go running down the hall taking everyone off thickened liquids, listen up! Few patients in the study received a Modified Barium Swallow Study at baseline, so the researchers could not confirm dysphagia or severity and impairment. Tread cautiously. Meet with your Registered Dietitian and Speech Therapist. Discuss this study and let the experts evaluate each resident individually before adjusting their current diet orders! Stay well and stay informed! 

 

For more information:

Thick Liquids and Clinical Outcomes in Hospitalized Patients With Alzheimer Disease and Related Dementias and Dysphagia | Otolaryngology | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network


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