Evaluating a brief intervention for mealtime difficulty on older adults with dementia



Rehman S, Likupe G, McFarland A & Watson R (2022) Evaluating a brief intervention for mealtime difficulty on older adults with dementia. Nursing Open.

Aims and objective: To test a spaced retrieval intervention using spaced retrieval to alleviate mealtime difficulties in older people with dementia. Design: A single-case study design. Setting: Nursing Homes in North Central England, United Kingdom. Participants: Older people with Alzheimer's disease. Methods: A single-case study using an ABA design was used. Data were collected using the Edinburgh Feeding Evaluation in Dementia scale, Mini Nutritional Assessment, and Body Mass Index before intervention, postintervention and following 3 months of postintervention. Realist evaluation was used to identify for which participants the intervention was effective, and an economic evaluation was also carried out. Finding: Of 15 participants who entered the study, eight completed all phases of the study. A mean 104.4 h were needed to deliver the intervention. The number of sessions required ranged from 90-222. The length of time each participant retained information (for all sessions) ranged from 13-28 min. Participants had most difficulty with: "putting food into mouth and chewing it"; "realizing it was mealtime"; and "eating a whole meal continuously." A reduction in the difficulty with mealtimes occurred between phase A1-A2 for most participants. Six participants maintained this in phase A3. Similar patterns were evident for nutritional scores. For most participants, the effect size of the intervention was moderate or large. Conclusions: Spaced retrieval is useful in reducing mealtime difficulties in older participants with dementia. While the results of this study are promising, further large and multicentre trials are needed to explore the effectiveness of the intervention in diverse populations. K E Y W O R D S dementia, mealtimes, nutrition, older people, single-case study, spaced retrieval

dementia; mealtimes; nutrition; older people; single-case study; spaced retrieval

Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online

Nursing Open

StatusIn Press
FundersUniversity of Hull
Publication date online20/07/2022
Date accepted by journal05/07/2022

People (1)


Mrs Agi McFarland

Mrs Agi McFarland

Senior Lecturer in Nursing, Health Sciences Stirling