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Prevalence and factors associated with feeding difficulty in institutionalized elderly with dementia in Taiwan



The purpose of this study was to establish the prevalence rate of feeding difficulty and to understand the factors associated with it among people with dementia.


A cross-sectional design was used.


Five nursing homes in Taiwan.


Ninety-three residents with dementia were enrolled.


Feeding difficulty was measured by The Edinburgh Feeding Evaluation in Dementia (EdFED) scale. Data included demographics, nutritional data, cognition, and independence were also collected.


Residents with EdFED scores above five had significantly longer duration of dementia (56.3±27.4 vs 42.2±22.8, P<0.05), greater dependence (26.2±20.8 vs 57.4±25.7, P<0.0001), lower BMI (21.5±3.8 vs 23.2±4.6, P<0.05), and greater cognitive impairment (8.4±2.6 vs 6.4±3.3, P<0.001) than those with EdFED scores under five. Using 5 points as the EdFED cutoff score, the prevalence rate of feeding difficulties was 60.2%. Using multiple regression to examine the predictors of feeding difficulty, 35.1% of the variance was explained, with ADL, cognition and number of medications being significant (beta =.46,.23 and.19, respectively), while non-significant factors were age, gender, duration of dementia and eating time.


The prevalence of feeding difficulty was high among Taiwanese elderly with dementia. Training nurses or nursing assistants to notice feeding problems in order to provide adequate assistance is important for preventing malnutrition among residents with dementia in Taiwan nursing homes.

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Correspondence to C. -C. Chang.

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Chang, C.C. Prevalence and factors associated with feeding difficulty in institutionalized elderly with dementia in Taiwan. J Nutr Health Aging 16, 258–261 (2012).

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Key words

  • Feeding difficulty
  • dementia
  • nursing home