Effects of Tongue Strength Training on Mealtime Function in Long-Term Care Purpose The primary aim of this study was to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of an 8-week tongue-strengthening intervention protocol for seniors with mild to moderately severe cognitive impairment in the long-term care setting. Outcome measures of interest included tongue strength, mealtime duration, and food intake. Method In ... Research Article
Research Article  |   November 08, 2017
Effects of Tongue Strength Training on Mealtime Function in Long-Term Care
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ashwini M. Namasivayam-MacDonald
    Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, University of Toronto, Canada
    Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network, Canada
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Adelphi University, Garden City, NY
  • Lynsey Burnett
    Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network, Canada
  • Ahmed Nagy
    Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network, Canada
    Fayoum University, Egypt
  • Ashley A. Waito
    Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, University of Toronto, Canada
    Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network, Canada
  • Catriona M. Steele
    Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, University of Toronto, Canada
    Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network, Canada
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Ashwini M. Namasivayam-MacDonald: anamamac@adelphi.edu
  • Editor: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Associate Editor: Julie Barkmeier-Kraemer
    Associate Editor: Julie Barkmeier-Kraemer×
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Research Articles
Research Article   |   November 08, 2017
Effects of Tongue Strength Training on Mealtime Function in Long-Term Care
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2017, Vol. 26, 1213-1224. doi:10.1044/2017_AJSLP-16-0186
History: Received October 20, 2016 , Revised March 29, 2017 , Accepted August 3, 2017
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2017, Vol. 26, 1213-1224. doi:10.1044/2017_AJSLP-16-0186
History: Received October 20, 2016; Revised March 29, 2017; Accepted August 3, 2017

Purpose The primary aim of this study was to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of an 8-week tongue-strengthening intervention protocol for seniors with mild to moderately severe cognitive impairment in the long-term care setting. Outcome measures of interest included tongue strength, mealtime duration, and food intake.

Method In this pre–post group study of treatment outcomes, data were collected from 7 adults (aged 84–99 years). Participants were observed across a series of mealtimes to determine mealtime duration and intake before and after 16 treatment sessions. During therapy, participants performed isometric strength exercises and tongue pressure accuracy tasks using the Iowa Oral Performance Instrument (model number 2.1, IOPI Medical). Differences in tongue strength as a function of treatment were explored between the first 3 and final 3 sessions using univariate repeated-measures analysis of variance. Single-subject methods were used to explore baseline and posttreatment data for measures of mealtime function.

Results Anterior and posterior tongue strength increased significantly with therapy. There were no changes in mealtime function.

Conclusions This study shows proof of concept that some older adults with cognitive impairment are able to participate in a tongue-strengthening intervention and achieve improvements in tongue strength. Failure to find evidence of associated changes of mealtime function suggests that mealtime measures may not be directly sensitive to changes in tongue strength.

Acknowledgments
We would like to acknowledge the support of our funding sources, including the Peterborough K. M. Hunter Charitable Foundation and the Annie Kirshenblatt Memorial Fund (funding awarded to Ashwini Namasivayam-MacDonald).
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