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

Background

This research was 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 had 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 study involved 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 were included in the study. Residents who could not give consent independently due to severe cognitive impairment were excluded.  Sampling ceased once theoretical saturation was reached (i.e. when no new themes were emerging from the data).

The data collated from the interviews were analysed using a combination of Thematic Analysis and Grounded Theory. The aim of the analysis was 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 were 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.

Outputs

The Care Quaility Commission recognised this research as a contributor to the 'Outstanding' rating awarded to participation care homes. 

Publications

Watkins R, Goodwin VA, Abbott RA, Backhouse A, Moore D, Tarrant M (2017). Attitudes, perceptions and experiences of mealtimes among residents and staff in care homes for older adults: A systematic review of the qualitative literature. Geriatric Nursing 

Watkins R, Goodwin VA, Abbot RA, Hall A, Tarrant M (2017). Exploring residents' experiences of mealtimes in care homes: A qualitative interview study. BMC Geriatrics 17:141

 

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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