Thickened Fluids: Factors Affecting Wastage
There is a putative risk of dehydration in patients with dysphagia in a chnical setting. A common conception is that the thickened fluids provided to the patient are the primary cause of poor intake. Commercial supplements may be better tolerated than domestic versions, primarily due to taste and consistency. Our study compares fluid wastage of dysphagic patients consu_ ming commercially prepared thickened fluids (Resource thickened beverage TM, Novartis Consumer Health Australasia Pty Ltd) against standard domestic products, and to compare waste at snack times and mealtimes. A wastage audit was designed to investigate the effect of commercial supplements and timing of wastage in patients admitted to a rehabilitation facility, with dysphagia as assessed using a comprehensive bedside assessment (n = 63). There were no significant differences in wastage between patients supphed commercial supplements and patients supplied domestic supplements. This result was the same at both snack times and mealtimes. A significant difference was reported between the average wastage of modified commercial and domestic supplements offered at snack time (37.9 _+ 11 ml and 17.3 _+ 10 ml) compared to main mealtimes (168.7 _+ 12 ml and 167.2 _+ 11 ml) (p < 0.01). The timing of thickened supplement provision appears to be a factor on the wastage of thickened fluids, whereas the type of supplement provided is of little consequence. Further investigation is needed to determine whether the time of day in which drinks are provided is a variable of intake, or is it attributable to the patients' milieu.