Research Abstracts: Feeding older people in care

Author: Age Concern England
Hungry to be heard: the scandal of malnourished older people in hospital
Publisher: Age Concern England, 2006, 26p

Abstract: Up to 14% of over 65s in the UK are malnourished and four out of 10 older people admitted to hospital are malnourished on arrival. And in hospital, six out of 10 older people are at risk of becoming malnourished or having their situation worsen. And up to half of older people in hospital have mental health problems. Patients who are malnourished stay in hospital longer, need more medication and are more likely to suffer from infections. The toll of malnutrition on health and health care costs is estimated to exceed £7.3bn a year (much more than obesity). More than half this cost is spent on people aged 65 or more.

Authors: Nijs Kristel et al
Title: Effect of family style mealtimes on quality of life, physical performance, and body weight of nursing home residents: cluster randomised controlled trial
Reference: British Medical Journal, 20 May 2006, pp.1180-1183

Abstract: This trial aimed to assess the effect of family-style mealtimes on quality of life, physical performance and body weight of nursing home residents without dementia. The study took place in five nursing homes in the Netherlands with a total of 178 residents participating with an average age of 77. During six months the intervention group took their meals family-style and the control group received the usual individual pre-plated service. The main outcome measures used were quality of life (perceived safety autonomy and sensory, physical, and psychosocial functioning), gross and fine motor function, and body weight. Results found the difference in change between the groups was significant for overall quality of life, fine motor function and body weight. It concluded that family-style mealtimes maintain quality of life, physical performance and body weight of nursing home residents without dementia.

Authors: Lorraine SHEPPARD, Claire DRUMMOND
Similarities and differences between aged-care facilities and school food services
Reference: Diversity in Health and Social Care, 3(4), 2006, pp.261-269

Abstract: This Australian paper aims to compare the food service aspect of aged-care facilities and schools. The paper presents a review of literature, outcomes and findings. The development of best practice models and guidelines will help in menu planning and establish the influence of food as a source of enjoyment and basis for social interaction.

Title: Keeping wandering nursing home residents at the table: improving food intake using a behavioural communication intervention
Reference: Aging and Mental Health, 8(2), March 2004, pp.109-116.

Abstract: This study analysed the effect of the systematic use of a behavioural nursing intervention on the mealtime behaviour of nursing home residents with probable Alzheimer’s disease. The intervention was designed to impact the proximal factors of physiological need and social interaction from the need-driven behaviour model. Results show that all cases could sit at the table longer and eat more food during the intervention, while body weight for all cases remained stable throughout the study. Two of the three cases left the table fewer times during the intervention. There were no statistically significant changes in proportion of fluids consumed in any case.


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