Management of swallowing difficulties in people with advanced dementia
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Management of swallowing difficulties in people with advanced dementia

Michelle Parker Nurse consultant, Older people, Newham University Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust, London
Donna Power Clinical lead speech and language therapist, East London NHS Foundation Trust

Michelle Parker and Donna Power describe how a multidisciplinary approach enables best practice

Problems with eating and swallowing are recognised as features of advancing dementia and may be a sign that the person is entering the terminal phase of illness. Such problems cause considerable concern and anxiety among family members, carers and health professionals. They also raise moral and ethical issues about artificial nutrition and the emotional and practical aspects of end of life care.

This article discusses the eating and swallowing difficulties that may present in people with advanced dementia and multidisciplinary best practice in their management. It also explores how families, carers and care home staff can be supported in making best interest decisions about artificial nutrition and end of life care for people with advanced dementia.

Nursing Older People. 25, 2, 26-31. doi: 10.7748/nop2013.


Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 29 October 2012

Accepted: 19 December 2012