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Oral tasters for people who are non-orally fed

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Abstract
Aim: Eating and drinking problems are common among people with
intellectual disabilities. Having a compromised swallow or being at risk of
inadequate nutrition are two reasons for the introduction of non-oral feeding. Such procedures involve creation of an external opening for food and drink to be delivered directly into the stomach through a tube. Historically oral and non-oral feeding were viewed as mutually exclusive. However, in more recent years maintenance of the swallow reflex and quality of life issues have led to introduction of small amounts of food and drink (oral tasters) for people who are non-orally fed. Little evidence exists about the reasoning used to inform this decision or the types of oral tasters offered. This study aims to address these omissions.

Method
An exploratory survey was used to gather information from speech
and language therapists and dietitians about their current practice and their decision making processes when offering oral tasters to people who are nonorally fed.

Results & Conclusions
Findings regarding the situations where oral tasters are offered to people with intellectual disabilities, the types of food and drink offered, who is involved in the decision making process and who delivers the oral tasters, will be presented. Conclusions will be drawn for future research and for practice.

Author
D. Chadwick

Reference
Chadwick, D., 2008. Oral Tasters For People Who Are Non-Orally Fed.