To assess the effectiveness of current methods employed by nurses for thickening nutritional supplment drinks with the effectiveness of newly developed guidelines.
Parker, Jacqueline Victoria
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Inaccurately thickened nutritional supplement drinks increase the risk of pulmonary aspiration and protein-energy malnutrition in dysphagic patients. This research compared current methods used by nurses for thickening nutritional supplement drinks with nurses' experience of newly developed guidelines. A questionnaire and an experiment, of which involved thickening two supplement drinks using the new guidelines, were completed by 25 nutritional link nurses. The results showed that nurses found current guidelines resulted in the production of lumps in thickened juice-based and milk-based supplement drinks. Nurses also appeared to be under-reporting lumps, indicating they are not checking thickened supplement drinks for lumps prior to distribution. The new guidelines were easier to use than current guidelines. For the juice-based supplement drink, use of the new guidelines resulted in a lump-free smooth texture, making them more effective than current methods. For the milk-based supplement drink, nurses perceived current methods produced less lumps than the new guidelines. It is recommended that a larger study should be conducted on the general nursing population, enabling dietitians to be adequately informed of current methods used by nurses for thickening supplement drinks and textural difficulties experienced.
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