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Mealtime interventions and the health, quality of life and well-being of older people in residential care

Background

This research is part of a PhD project aimed at developing a mealtime intervention to improve the health and wellbeing of older people in residential care.  It is essential that first hand experiences of existing care provision are sought, in order that they may inform subsequent stages of research, in particular the development of an intervention itself. 

This study has the following aims:

  • To gain an insight into residents’ perspectives on mealtimes in care homes and inform later intervention development.
  • To understand how residents’ social interactions effect their enjoyment of meals.
  • To elicit some of the barriers and facilitators to providing the optimal mealtime experience.

Methods

The proposed study will involve semi-structured one-to-one interviews with care home residents with a focus on the experience of mealtimes, including the social environment in which these take place.

Both male and female care home residents aged 65 years or older will be included in the study. Residents who cannot give consent independently due to severe cognitive impairment will be excluded.  Sampling will cease once theoretical saturation is reached (i.e. when no new themes are emerging from the data).  It is expected that this will be between 10-15 older adults, based on previous research.

The data collated from the interviews will be analysed using a combination of Thematic Analysis and Grounded Theory. The aim of the analysis will be to organise the data in a meaningful way so as to be able to develop a theory of the forms, functions and consequences of mealtime experiences in the care home environment.

Potential ethical issues

Possible ethical issues are likely to be based on participant confidentiality, and given the vulnerable status of the sample population, on safeguarding and welfare issues, as well as the potential for some participants to have communication difficulties.

For more information, please read the project proposal. If you’d like to learn more, please contact Ross Watkins via Email

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