Management of Dysphagia in Clients with Dementia
Considerations when Planning
Considering the Client
Although it is a very specific client population, planning for intervention must be done on an individual basis.

“An approach that considers the individual and not solely the diagnosis is needed” (Smith, et al, 2009 p 546) Client and family opinions and values must be taken into consideration.

The progression of the disease has to be monitored in each individual client and intervention plans need to be reviewed regularly. It is important to consider the client’s ability to make improvements, or to maintain current swallowing ability (Easterling and Robbins, 2008). A balance needs to be found between the clients quality of life, their ability to swallow safely and their nutritional needs.
 This includes their specific swallowing issues and nutritional needs as mentioned previously.


Considering the Dysphagia The stage of dementia that a client is at will influence the exact swallowing issues they are experiencing with regard to their dysphagia. For a more in-depth discussion on the specific dysphagia issues a client with dementia can experience see the link below Dysphagia coupled with Dementia Considering the Dementia Clients with dementia may present with: - Decreased cognitive ability
- Increased restlessness and moodiness
- Increased indifference to food
- Decreases sense smell and therefore taste
See the link below for a more in-depth discussion of the specific needs of clients with dementiaIntroduction to Client with Dementia
The nature of dementia and the fact that is a progressive disease impacts on the type of intervention that is appropriate to use with this client group. They often have poor insight into their nutritional needs and swallowing issues (Griffin at al, 2010). This requires monitoring by care givers and regular reassessment of both their swallowing and their ability to safely self-feed. It is likely that a client with dementia will end up needing to be fed by a caregiver or nurse. Due to the increasing cognitive impairment of clients with dementia, they are often unable to follow instructions (sometimes even simple ones). This can make it difficult or impossible to carry out some of the treatments that are available for dysphagia. These issues will be discussed in more depth with regard to each intervention.