A mixed method study exploring meal time experiences for people with dementia in acute hospital wards.

Theme 2

Ageing and Dementia

The problem:
To eat you need memory! Memory and awareness of the time. You also need initiation, planning, object recognition, environment recognition, judgement, attention, understanding and more. People with dementia often lose these abilities, meaning that:
• they may not start eating a meal when it is put in front of them;
• may forget what they are doing half way through;
• may leave the table during the meal;
• Not recognise you are giving them food or even that they are hungry.

The solution:
• Ongoing observation during meal times using Dementia Care Mapping. We will use this as a tool to measure people’s well-being and engagement during the meal time and to see what is going on at meal times that may impact the experience.
• Interviewing staff about the tools currently used to encourage eating and drinking, and what they see their roles as in this process.

Expected outcome:
A greater understanding of what affects eating and drinking in hospital for people with dementia.
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