OBJECTIVE: To characterize the problems of feeding and swallowing in individuals with moderate and severe Alzheimer´s disease (AD) and to correlate these with functional aspects.
METHOD: Fifty patients with AD and their caregivers participated in this study. The instruments used were: Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR), Mini-Mental State Examination, Index of Activities of Daily Living, Assessment of Feeding and Swallowing Difficulties in Dementia, Functional Outcome Questionnaire for Aphasia, and Swallowing Rating Scale.
RESULTS: Problems with passivity, distraction and refusal to eat were encountered in the CDR2 group. Distraction, passivity and inappropriate feeding velocity were predominant in the CDR3 group. The problems were correlated with communication, swallowing severity of AD individuals and caregiver schooling.
CONCLUSION: Given the inexorable functional alterations during the course of the disease, it is vital to observe these in patients with a compromised feeding and swallowing mechanism. The present study supplies the instruments to orient caregivers and professionals.
Key words: swallowing disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, caregivers.