Authors: Manduchi B, Fainman GM, Walshe M
Title: Interventions for Feeding and Swallowing Disorders in Adults with Intellectual Disability: A Systematic Review of the Evidence
Source: Dysphagia 2020 35(2): 207-219
Year: 2020
Research Design: Systematic Review

Feeding and swallowing disorders are prevalent in adults with Intellectual Disability (ID) and can potentially lead to discomfort, malnutrition, dehydration, aspiration, and choking. Most common interventions include: diet modification, compensatory strategies, swallowing therapy, and non-oral feeding. Despite their common use, the research evidence for these interventions is lacking. The current study aimed to systematically review the evidence for the safety and the effectiveness of interventions for feeding and swallowing disorders in adults with ID. Seven electronic databases, conference proceedings, and reference lists of relevant studies were reviewed from online availability to March 2019, with no language restrictions. Eligibility criteria encompassed experimental or non-experimental study design, adults (> 18 years) with ID and feeding and/or swallowing disorders (any etiology and severity) and any intervention for feeding and/or swallowing disorders. Methodological quality was assessed by two independent reviewers using the Downs and Black checklist. Four articles met the inclusion criteria. All included studies considered enteral feeding as an intervention strategy and had a retrospective observational design. Overall, included studies reported positive change in nutritional status and a high incidence of adverse events following enteral feeding initiation. Risk of bias was high with variability in methodological quality. The safety and effectiveness of interventions for feeding and swallowing in adults with ID is unclear. This review highlights the lack of evidence-based practice in this area. Directions for further research are provided. Before enteral feeding initiation, risks and benefits should be appropriately balanced on an individual basis, and caregivers should be involved in the decision-making process.

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