ERIC Number: EJ959036
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Apr
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 39
The Extent and Nature of Need for Mealtime Support among Adults with Intellectual Disabilities
Ball, S. L.; Panter, S. G.; Redley, M.; Proctor, C.-A.; Byrne, K.; Clare, I. C. H.; Holland, A. J.
Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, v56 n4 p382-401 Apr 2012
Background: For many adults with an intellectual disability (ID), mealtimes carry significant health risks. While research and allied clinical guidance has focused mainly on dysphagia, adults with a range of physical and behavioural difficulties require mealtime support to ensure safety and adequate nutrition. The extent of need for and nature of such support within the wider ID population has yet to be reported. Methods: In this study, we have estimated the prevalence of need for mealtime support among people with ID in the UK, using a population of 2230 adults known to specialist ID services (in Cambridgeshire, UK, total population 586 900). In a sample (n = 69, aged 19 to 79 years, with mild to profound ID), we characterised the support provided, using a structured proforma to consult support workers and carers providing mealtime support, and health and social care records. Results: Mealtime support was found to be required by a significant minority of people with ID for complex and varied reasons. Prevalence of need for such support was estimated at 15% of adults known to specialist ID services or 56 per 100 000 total population. Within a sample, support required was found to vary widely in nature (from texture modification or environmental adaptation to enteral feeding) and in overall level (from minimal to full support, dependent on functional skills). Needs had increased over time in almost half (n = 34, 49.3%). Reasons for support included difficulties getting food into the body (n = 56, 82.2%), risky eating and drinking behaviours (n = 31, 44.9%) and slow eating or food refusal (n = 30, 43.5%). These proportions translate into crude estimates of the prevalence of these difficulties within the known ID population of 11.9%, 6.6% and 6.4% respectively. Within the sample of those requiring mealtime support, need for support was reported to be contributed to by the presence of additional disability or illness (e.g. visual impairment, poor dentition and dementia; n = 45, 65.2%) and by psychological or behavioural issues (e.g. challenging behaviour, emotional disturbance; n = 36, 52.2%). Conclusions: These findings not only highlight the need for a multidisciplinary approach to mealtime interventions (paying particular attention to psychological and environmental as well as physical issues), but also signal the daily difficulties faced by carers and paid support workers providing such support and illustrate their potentially crucial role in managing the serious health risks associated with eating and drinking difficulties in this population.
Descriptors: Adults, Mental Retardation, Eating Disorders, Eating Habits, Nutrition, Services, Incidence, Needs
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)