Cultural Considerations in Tube Feeding Decision-Making Tube feeding is a common intervention considered in the care of older adults. The objective of this paper is to provide an overview of the current literature on the relationship between cultural factors and tube feeding in older adults, to help prepare speech-language pathologists (SLPs) to consider these cultural factors ... Article
Article  |   August 2014
Cultural Considerations in Tube Feeding Decision-Making
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Nori Watson
    Private Practice, Austin, TX
  • Christina Bell
    Department of Geriatric Medicine, University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine, Honolulu, HI
  • Nori Watson

    Financial Disclosure: Nori Watson is a Geriatrician in private practice in Austin, TX. Christina Bell is the Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program Director and an Associate Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine.

    Nonfinancial Disclosure: Nori Watson has no nonfinancial interests related to the content of this article. Christina Bell has previously published in the subject area. This paper was supported by: The University of Hawaii Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program, HRSA GACA award K01HP20503; the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Next Steps in Physicians' Training in Geriatrics Grant; Pacific Islands Geriatric Education Center (GEC) HRSA Grant Number D31HP08819; and The John A. Hartford Foundation Center of Excellence in Geriatrics. The funding sources had no role in the development of this paper.

  • © 2014 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Older Adults & Aging / Article
Article   |   August 2014
Cultural Considerations in Tube Feeding Decision-Making
SIG 14 Perspectives on Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Populations, August 2014, Vol. 21, 63-73. doi:10.1044/cds21.2.63
SIG 14 Perspectives on Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Populations, August 2014, Vol. 21, 63-73. doi:10.1044/cds21.2.63

Tube feeding is a common intervention considered in the care of older adults. The objective of this paper is to provide an overview of the current literature on the relationship between cultural factors and tube feeding in older adults, to help prepare speech-language pathologists (SLPs) to consider these cultural factors in communicating with their patients and families who may be faced with a tube feeding decision. Although evidence indicates that this intervention lacks benefit in advanced dementia, the decision to provide tube feeding can be complicated and challenging. SLPs are often consulted to provide assistance in the evaluation of an older adult with eating and feeding problems, and have an important role in tube feeding decision-making. SLPs and the healthcare teams they work with need to be aware of regional, national, international, ethnic, cultural, and institutional differences in tube feeding decision-making and utilization. SLPs and their healthcare teams need culturally sensitive communication and assessment skills to gently elicit and address cultural influences in this decision.

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