Finger food to improve dementia patients' independence

Progressive under-nutrition is particularly common among people with dementia Credit: PA

A new finger food menu for patients living with dementia is being piloted at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in an attempt to encourage greater independence.

Nutrition, catering and nursing staff worked together to create a finger food menu which is being piloted on an elderly care ward.

Finger foods have become very helpful in encouraging people with dementia to enjoy food and drink again. As dementia progresses people often find cutlery difficult to manage, they also can find it difficult to manage a full meal.

– Nutrition Specialist Nurse Liz Evan

The menu features foods that will hold their shape when picked up, require limited chewing and are served at room temperature - such as mini quiches, cocktail sausages, small slices of cake and fruit.

Progressive under-nutrition is particularly common among people with dementia. Studies indicate that 20-45% of those with dementia in the community experience clinically significant weight loss over one year.

Both highly visible tableware and finger food has been shown to lead to an increase in food and drink consumption. Over the next few weeks hospital dietitians will be assessing any changes in patients' nutritional intake.