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Staff awareness of food and fluid care needs for older people with dementia in residential care: A qualitative study

Lea, EJ ORCID: 0000-0001-7346-5667, Goldberg, LR ORCID: 0000-0002-8217-317X, Price, AD ORCID: 0000-0002-3460-2267, Tierney, L ORCID: 0000-0003-0919-8706 and McInerney, F ORCID: 0000-0003-1781-402X 2017 , 'Staff awareness of food and fluid care needs for older people with dementia in residential care: A qualitative study' , Journal of clinical nursing, vol. 26, no. 23-24 , pp. 5169-5178 , doi:

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Aims and objectives: To examine awareness of aged care home staff regarding dailyfood and fluid care needs of older people with dementia.Background: Older people in residential care frequently are malnourished, and manyhave dementia. Staff knowledge of the food and fluid needs of people with dementiais limited. Qualitative research on this topic is scarce but can provide insight intohow nutrition and hydration care may be improved.Design: Qualitative, interview-based study.Methods: Eleven staff in a range of positions at one care home were interviewedregarding their perceptions of current and potential food/fluid care practices. Transcriptswere coded and analysed thematically.Results: Key food and fluid issues reported by these staff members were weightloss and malnutrition, chewing and swallowing difficulties (dysphagia), and inadequatehydration. Staff identified a number of current care practices that they felt tobe effective in facilitating older people’s food and fluid intake, including responsivenessto their needs. Staff suggestions to facilitate food and fluid intake centred onimproved composition and timing of meals, enhanced physical and social eatingenvironment, and increased hydration opportunities. Staff commented on factorsthat may prevent changes to care practices, particularly the part-time workforce,and proposed changes to overcome such barriers.Conclusions: Staff were aware of key food and fluid issues experienced by the olderpeople in their care and of a range of beneficial care practices, but lacked knowledgeof many promising care practices and/or how to implement such practices.Relevance to clinical practice: Staff need to be supported to build on their existingknowledge around effective food and fluid care practices. The numerous ideas staffexpressed for changing care practices can be leveraged by facilitating staff networkingto work and learn together to implement evidence-based change.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Lea, EJ and Goldberg, LR and Price, AD and Tierney, L and McInerney, F
Keywords: dementia, evidence based care practices, hydration, nursing homes, nutrition, staff
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of clinical nursing
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
ISSN: 0962-1067
DOI / ID Number:
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© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

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