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Redesigning texture modified foods to bring back the joy of eating

Research priority: Optimising health and wellbeing
Researchers: Liz Cyarto, Judy Lowthian, Marissa Dickins, Georgia Major, Cherie Hugo, Bernadette Dutton, Caroline Lucas, Bill Laird, Cathie Watt
Research partners: My Nutrition Clinic, Loqui Speech Pathology
Study population: Residential aged care
Funding support: Perpetual Queensland, Dr and Mrs J Luddy Charitable Trust

Many aged care residents have dysphagia - difficulty chewing and/or swallowing. To improve swallowing safety, foods are pureed or minced to make eating and drinking easier and safer. However, these meals have often lacked visual appeal. Bolton Clarke’s Food Services team has been changing the way meals are prepared and presented to residents with dysphagia. Custom-made silicon moulds are used to shape foods that have been chopped finely or pureed, so they resemble their original form.

Catering employees at three residential aged care communities are being trained to use the food moulds. We are evaluating the impact the new moulded-texture modified food has on residents’ quality of life, mood, meal satisfaction and consumption, nutritional intake, weight and use of supplements.