Visual perception, difficulty distinguishing objects, judging distance and determining color or contrast are common problems contributing to weight loss and nutritional decline in dementia clients. Mealtime burdens and challenges for individuals with dementia can be minimized or eliminated by some simple, inexpensive alterations in the physical environment that can profoundly influence how patients feel, behave, and function; as well as ease frustration and promote more independent functioning. The purpose of this pilot study was to examine the effect of table setting contrast on residents’ weight, oral intake, arm circumference, and feeding behaviors during meals in an assisted living facility serving individuals with dementia. A threeday calorie count, weight and arm circumference measurements were administered at baseline, two and four months post intervention, along with the Edinburgh Feeding Evaluation in Dementia Questionnaire at baseline and post intervention four months later. This study demonstrates why the application of table setting contrast should be implemented as a noninvasive means of accommodating residential quality of life and minimizing weight loss, confusion, and frustration associated with eating among individuals with dementia. This article discusses implications for nursing practice innovations and further research.
Hobbs, TIffany and Hutchens, Sheila, "Improving Caloric Intake and Nutrition for Elderly Dementia Patients by Modifying the Environment" (2010). Graduate Research Projects. 47.