Exploring perceptions of eating with dementia: Findings from a massive open online course
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-21, 08:33 authored by Isabelle GoodwinIsabelle Goodwin, Emma LeaEmma Lea, Aidan BindoffAidan Bindoff, Kathleen DohertyKathleen Doherty
People with dementia are at high risk of malnutrition as a result of progressive symptoms that affect eating. Maximising opportunities to enhance nutrition and strategies to encourage eating are a crucial part of providing care. Caregiver knowledge and a person-centred approach to eating is essential to reduce symptom burden and maintain quality of life. There is currently limited research investigating first person perceptions of eating with dementia, particularly beyond small sample sizes. Therefore, this paper aims to explore community perceptions of how best to encourage eating for people with dementia using findings from an online course. Within the Understanding Dementia Massive Open Online Course, responses to the following statement were collected: 'If I had dementia, the things that might help me to eat include…'. A total of 3,651 participant responses were collected from the 2018 and 2019 course enrolments and analysed using structural topic modelling and secondary thematic analysis. The majority of participants were female, tertiary educated Australians over 50 years old. A third were paid caregivers. Thirteen topics were isolated from topic modelling that can be reduced into six broad categories: food type personalisation, meal choice, meal presentation, eating environment, eating assistance and end of life nutrition. Participant responses demonstrated diverse awareness of important aspects to encourage eating in dementia. Findings support the need for improved uptake of nutritional strategies in practice and education on eating with dementia to support caregivers.
Department/SchoolSchool of Health Sciences
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