Three million people will reside in nursing homes (NH) in the United States, and over 50% will experience some level of dementia by 2030. People with dementia become increasingly dependent on others to manage mealtime difficulties and oral intake as the disease progresses. The purpose of this review is to explore the state of the science related to assisted hand-feeding of people with dementia in the NH, identify gaps, and inform future policy. The review was conducted in 2010 and identified sources from journal articles, websites, and other related publications. Results are presented around key themes of characteristics, measurements, related factors, and interventions for alleviating mealtime difficulties in people with dementia. Though in the early stages, international and interdisciplinary research interest exists to understand mealtime difficulties and effective intervention strategies. Health care providers must be able to identify problems and intervene appropriately to alleviate mealtime difficulties.
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