The purpose of this study was to investigate factors influencing eating performance in older adults with dementia (OAWDs) in long-term care (LTC) facilities.
This cross-sectional study examined risk factors for compromised eating performance by comparing both independent and dependent older adults with dementia. The study participants were 117 OAWDs in LTC facilities in South Korea. Measurements included (a) general characteristics, (b) activities of daily living (ADL) including eating performance, (c) cognitive function, (d) physical capability, (e) grip strength, (f) Behavioral Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD), and (g) depression. Data were analyzed by the percentage, mean and standard deviation, Chi-square test, t-test, and logistic regression.
The eating independent group had more comorbidities than the dependent group (t = 2.793, p < .006); had significantly higher cognition (t = 4.108, p < .001) and physical capability (t = 5.258, p < .001); and had stronger grip strength (t = 2.887, p = .005). Comorbidities and physical capability were determinants for independent eating performance (Odds Ratio [OR] = 1.969, p = .014; OR = 1.324, p < .001).
It is suggested that maintaining physical capability should be encouraged to support independent eating performance by OAWDs in LTC facilities. The results of this study could serve as a basis for developing function-focused care to maintain the residual eating performance of OAWDs in Korean LTC facilities. This is a subject area that has not been fully explored.