Our client is a leading food producer for the health and social care sector.
Around 50% of people affected by dementia experience problems with eating and drinking, known as dysphagia.* As dementia progresses, swallowing difficulties become more common. Difficulties can include holding food in the mouth, continuous chewing, and leaving foods that are harder to chew on the plate. Swallowing difficulties can also lead to weight loss, malnutrition and dehydration.
The purpose of the research project was to better understand, from key healthcare professionals, the dietary requirements and eating habits of people living with dementia, so that our client could improve the products and services that they provide to these patient groups.
The target audience
Using Wilmington Healthcare’s contact data we identified a target audience of over 7,000 relevant healthcare professionals across our database of allied healthcare professionals, GP practices and nursing and care homes. These included:
- Community nurses
- Healthcare managers
- Hospital practitioners
- Nursing home managers
Working closely with the client, Wilmington Healthcare carried out the following:
- Assisted in the design of an online survey, consisting of 10 questions and a mix of open and closed questions
- Constructed survey invitations and reminder emails
- Implemented an incentive for survey completion to optimise response rates
- Carried out a three-wave email campaign to increase engagement and participation of the target audience
- Captured, analysed and reported the responses
*Source: Alzheimer’s Society
The outcome / Results
Response rates for the survey were much higher than anticipated – 73% more than what was expected.
It was evident from the research undertaken that there were huge gaps in the awareness and importance of diet for dementia patients, particularly patients that cannot eat solids or have trouble swallowing.
It was clear that there was a need for energy and protein fortified products. As a result, our client launched a range of innovative products that make a real difference to people living with dementia and conditions such as dysphagia.