TROWBRIDGE, England, November 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Around 50% of the HCPs surveyed had seen cases in the last 12 months where giving the incorrect food to dysphagia patients had directly contributed to aspiration or malnutrition
New research published today outlines the concerns healthcare professionals (HCPs) have about the education and help available for those treating patients with the swallowing condition dysphagia. The survey, conducted by independent research firm Research Now and commissioned by Wiltshire Farm Foods, the UK's leading frozen meals delivery service, found that over half of the 213 HCPs surveyed felt out of date on the current nutritional treatment approach for dysphagia.
Despite the fact that dysphagia affects patients of all ages and is associated with a very wide range of conditions including stroke, cancers of the head and neck, and dementia, 70% of respondents felt that there is not enough help and education about the condition for HCPs working in the community.
In addition, the survey found:
-Nearly half of all HCPs surveyed had not been trained on dysphagia in over 2 years, and 10% have not received any training whatsoever.
-73% of HCPs were concerned about the nutrition or food their dysphagia patients have been eating over the last 12 months, with 13% concerned about more than 10 of their patients. Eating food of incorrect consistency can have serious implications for patients with dysphagia, and can lead to malnutrition, dehydration and aspiration of food.
-53% of the HCPs surveyed had seen cases in the last 12 months where not giving texture-modified foods had directly contributed to aspiration in their patients. 47% felt it had contributed to malnutrition.
-HCPs and patients are confused about the nutrition options on offer for dysphagia patients: There is a lack of consistent use of national descriptors for texture-modified food, and few patients are aware that pre-prepared texture modified meals are available on the market.
Helen Willis, Wiltshire Farm Foods Dietitian, commented: "Dysphagia is extremely widespread, but is often overlooked as it is usually associated with a serious primary condition. It's clear from the results of this survey that the education about dysphagia and help available to healthcare professionals could be significantly improved. In addition, greater understanding about the wide range of food options available for those suffering from dysphagia would have a positive impact on nutritional prospects for these patients."
Swallowing problems are extremely prevalent within the UK; for example, at least 40% of stroke survivors experience some difficulty swallowing.
Joe Korner, Director of External Affairs at the Stroke Association, said: "There are around 1.2 million people in the UK living with the devastating impact of stroke, and we estimate that well over two fifths will experience swallowing problems as a result. It's important that healthcare professionals in the field of stroke have the training, knowledge and support they need to help patients manage their dysphagia. Stroke survivors who receive the right nutritional support are far more likely to make a better recovery. "
For further information on Wiltshire Farm Foods and to find out more about their range of food tailored for those with special dietary needs please visit http://www.wiltshirefarmfoods.com/about-us
Lydia Eden/ Katherine Doyle/ Sarah Mulder
SOURCE Wiltshire Farm Foods