||Reddacliff C, Hemsley B, Smith R, Dalton S, Jones S, Fitzpatrick A, Given F, Kelly J, Lawson X, Darcy S, Debono D, Benfer K, Balandin S
PURPOSE: Dysphagia (swallowing difficulty) impacts physical health, quality of life, and mealtime enjoyment. Staff who provide mealtime assistance to people with dysphagia require adequate training to help ensure that the mealtimes are safe and enjoyable. This systematic review examined literature relating to training in dysphagia (e.g., recognizing signs and symptoms) and mealtime assistance, its components, and benefits for people with dysphagia. METHOD: In July 2020, five scientific databases were searched for papers meeting the inclusion criteria relating to mealtime assistance training. The quality of the studies was evaluated using the Quality Assessment Tool for Studies of Diverse Design, with scores ranging from 38.1% to 83.3%. We completed a qualitative synthesis using the data extracted from the included studies. RESULTS: Twenty-four studies met the inclusion criteria. Participants in these studies benefited from both group training and one-on-one training. Training programs had many formats including computer-based, face-to-face, individual training, and group training. Each included study demonstrated some level of positive impact to the learners, such as improved knowledge and skills in mealtime management for people with dysphagia. No studies reported negative outcomes. Training duration ranged from 30 min to 5 days. CONCLUSIONS: The benefits of different components of mealtime training (e.g., group training, or face-to-face training) for mealtime assistance for people with dysphagia were reviewed. Further research is needed to compare the effectiveness of different training formats, involving not only the assistant but also people with dysphagia as both trainers and trainees, and determine the health outcomes of training programs for people with dysphagia.