Objective: There are a lack of disaster preparedness measures that target populations with dysphagia. In particular, disaster response plans frequently overlook differences in textures between emergency foods and regularly consumed foods. The aim of this study was to estimate the number of community-dwelling elderly care recipients requiring specific food preparations, including the population at risk of aspiration when solely consuming common emergency foods. Design: A cross-sectional study. Patients: Community-dwelling elderly care recipients who were certified by the public long-term care insurance system in Japan and registered at one of 77 care managing offices in Shinjuku city. Methods: Special needs regarding food intake and risks associated with receiving emergency foods were assessed by government-certified care managers. Results: Data were acquired from 1,271 care recipients. Notably, 23.1% of the sampled population had special needs regarding food intake at all times (e.g. non-oral intake or need for texture-modified foods). An additional 11.5% were estimated to experience difficulty when ingesting common emergency foods, despite the ability to consume regular foods. Conclusion: A relatively large portion of community-dwelling elderly people will be at risk of aspiration due to the intake of commonly distributed emergency foods following a disaster. Appropriate preparation based on an assessment of special needs regarding food intake is therefore required when planning for future disasters.
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