Texture-Modified Diet for Improving the Management of Oropharyngeal Dysphagia in Nursing Home Residents: An Expert Review

María D. Ballesteros-Pomar, A. Cherubini, H. Keller, P. Lam, Y. Rolland, S. F. Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: This paper provides evidence-based and, when appropriate, expert reviewed recommendations for long-stay residents who are prescribed texture-modified diets (TMDs), with the consideration that these residents are at high risk of worsening oropharyngeal dysphagia (OD), malnutrition, dehydration, aspiration pneumonia, and OD-associated mortality, poorer quality of life and high costs. Design: Nestlé Health Science funded an initial virtual meeting attended by all authors, in which the unmet needs and subsequent recommendations for OD management were discussed. The opinions, results, and recommendations detailed in this paper are those of the authors, and are independent of funding sources. Setting: OD is common in nursing home (NH) residents, and is defined as the inability to initiate and perform safe swallowing. The long-stay NH resident population has specific characteristics marked by a shorter life expectancy relative to community-dwelling older adults, high prevalence of multimorbidity with a high rate of complications, dementia, frailty, disability, and often polypharmacy. As a result, OD is associated with malnutrition, dehydration, aspiration pneumonia, functional decline, and death. Complications of OD can potentially be prevented with the use of TMDs. Results: This report presents expert opinion and evidence-informed recommendations for best practice on the nutritional management of OD. It aims to highlight the practice gaps between the evidence-based management of OD and real-world patterns, including inadequate dietary provision and insufficient staff training. In addition, the unmet need for OD screening and improvements in therapeutic diets are explored and discussed. Conclusion: There is currently limited empirical evidence to guide practice in OD management. Given the complex and heterogeneous population of long-stay NH residents, some ‘best practice’ approaches and interventions require extensive efficacy testing before further changes in policy can be implemented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)576-581
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nutrition, Health and Aging
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2020


  • Dysphagia
  • malnutrition
  • nursing home
  • texture-modified diet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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