TheraChirps Blog

Dysphagia and Dementia in the SNF

Working with patients with dementia who are experiencing difficulty chewing and swallowing can be challenging. Patients with dementia may not only exhibit the typical chewing and swallowing symptoms that are often seen with patients with dysphagia.  Because of the many changes in cognition, sensation and perception, other areas of difficulty that will impact safe and efficient oral intake might include:    
  • Being unaware of food when it arrives.
  • Failing to do anything with food in the mouth, just holding it.
  • Spitting food out.
  • Eating very fast or putting too much into the mouth.
  • Eating insufficient amounts or refusing food and/or drink.
  • Talking with food or drink in the mouth.
  • Not opening mouth to accept food/liquids.
  • Reduced taste.
  • Confused food location on plate.
  • Impulsivity in intake.
  • Confusion and/ or distraction. 
We as SLP clinicians have a good understanding of dementia and dysphagia. Our expertise in these areas can have a positive effect on the nutritional and hydrational status of patients with dementia.

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