Content » Vol 51, Issue 4

Short communication

Estimating nutrition intake status of community-dwelling elderly people requiring care in disaster settings: A preliminary cross-sectional survey

Syoichi Tashiro, Michiyuki Kawakami, Asako Oka, Fumio Liu, Atsuko Nishimura, Chieko Ogawa, Fujio Hagai, Sirou Yamamoto, Masato Yazawa, Meigen Liu
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Keio University School of Medicine, Shinjuku,Tokyo, Japan
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2542


Objective: There are a lack of disaster preparedness measures that target populations with dysphagia. In particular, disaster response plans frequently overlook differences in textures between emergency foods and regularly consumed foods. The aim of this study was to estimate the number of community-dwelling elderly care recipients requiring specific food preparations, including the population at risk of aspiration when solely consuming common emergency foods.
Design: A cross-sectional study.
Patients: Community-dwelling elderly care recipients who were certified by the public long-term care insurance system in Japan and registered at one of 77 care managing offices in Shinjuku city.
Methods: Special needs regarding food intake and risks associated with receiving emergency foods were assessed by government-certified care managers.
Results: Data were acquired from 1,271 care recipients. Notably, 23.1% of the sampled population had special needs regarding food intake at all times (e.g. non-oral intake or need for texture-modified foods). An additional 11.5% were estimated to experience difficulty when ingesting common emergency foods, despite the ability to consume regular foods.
Conclusion: A relatively large portion of community-dwelling elderly people will be at risk of aspiration due to the intake of commonly distributed emergency foods following a disaster. Appropriate preparation based on an assessment of special needs regarding food intake is therefore required when planning for future disasters.

Lay Abstract

Emergency foods provided following disasters have considerably different textures from regularly consumed foods. This may lead to an increase in the rate of aspiration pneumonia in vulnerable populations after a disaster. However, no studies have focused on this issue. To better estimate the size of the population with swallowing disorders (i.e. dysphagia), a local district-based total population survey of community-dwelling elderly care recipients who were registered in the mandatory long-term care insurance system in Shinjuku city, Tokyo, Japan was performed. Data were collected by government-certified care managers. While 23.1% of the population experienced dysphagia in ordinary settings (i.e. non-oral nutrition intake or daily dependency on texture-modified foods), an additional 11.5% were identified as at-risk solely through a diet consisting of emergency foods. This study indicates the importance of preparedness measures that take this latter population into account.

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