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01.12.2019 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

BMC Geriatrics 1/2019

‘It’s what you do that makes a difference’ An interpretative phenomenological analysis of health care professionals and home care workers experiences of nutritional care for people living with dementia at home

Zeitschrift:
BMC Geriatrics > Ausgabe 1/2019
Autoren:
Louise Mole, Bridie Kent, Mary Hickson, Rebecca Abbott
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12877-019-1270-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Abstract

Background

People living with dementia at home are a group who are at increased risk of malnutrition. Health care professionals and home care workers, are ideally placed to support nutritional care in this vulnerable group. Yet, few, if any studies, have captured the experiences of these workers in respect of treating and managing nutritional issues. This interpretative phenomenological study aimed to explore the experiences and perceptions of the nutritional care of people living with dementia at home from the perspectives of health care professionals and home care workers.

Methods

Semi-structured interviews were conducted between December 2017 and March 2018, and supplemented with the use of a vignette outlining a scenario of a husband caring for his wife with dementia. Health care professionals and home care workers were purposively recruited from local care providers in the south west of England, who had experience of working with people with dementia. An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) approach was used throughout.

Results

Seven participants took part including two home care workers, a general practitioner, dietitian, occupational therapist, nurse and social worker. The time in their professions ranged from 3 to 15 years (mean = 8.9 years). Following analysis, four superordinate themes were identified: ‘responsibility to care’, ‘practice restrained by policy’, ‘in it together’, and ‘improving nutritional care’. This group of health care professionals and home care workers recognised the importance of improving nutritional care for people living with dementia at home, and felt a responsibility for it. However they felt that they were restricted by time and/or knowledge. The importance of supporting the family carer and working collaboratively was highlighted.

Conclusions

Health care professionals and home care workers require further training to better equip them to provide nutritional care for people living with dementia at home. Models of care may also need to be adapted to enable a more flexible and tailored approach to incorporate nutritional care. Future work in this area should focus on how health care professionals and home care workers can be better equipped to screen for malnutrition, and support changes to nutritional intake to mitigate malnutrition risk.
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