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How Widely are Supportive and Flexible Food Service Systems and Mealtime Interventions Used for People in Residential Care Facilities? A Comparison of Dementia-Specific and Nonspecific Facilities

1
Rehabilitation, Aged and Extended Care, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia, Australia
2
NHMRC Partnership Centre on Dealing with Cognitive and Related Functional Decline in Older People, Department of Rehabilitation and Aged Care, University of Sydney, Old Leighton Lodge, Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital, Palmerston Road, Hornsby 2077, New South Wales, Australia
3
Institute for Choice, School of Commerce, University of South Australia, GPO Box 2471, Adelaide 5001, South Australia, Australia
4
Nutrition and Dietetics, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Healthcare 2018, 6(4), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare6040140
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 25 November 2018 / Accepted: 29 November 2018 / Published: 3 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Care of People Living with Dementia)
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Abstract

While improved mealtime practices can reduce agitation, improve quality of life, and increase food intake for people in aged care, the degree of implementation of these strategies is unknown. This study describes food service practices in residential aged care facilities, focusing on units caring for people with dementia. An online survey was distributed to residential aged care facilities for completion by the food service manager (n = 2057). Of the 204 responses to the survey, 63 (31%) contained a dementia-specific unit. Most facilities used adaptive equipment (90.2%) and commercial oral nutritional supplements (87.3%). A higher proportion of facilities with a dementia-specific service used high-contrast plates (39.7%) than those without (18.4%). The majority of facilities had residents make their choice for the meal more than 24 h prior to the meal (30.9%). Use of high contrast plates (n = 51, 25%) and molds to reform texture-modified meals (n = 41, 20.1%) were used by one-quarter or less of surveyed facilities. There is a relatively low use of environmental and social strategies to promote food intake and wellbeing in residents, with a focus instead on clinical interventions. Research should focus on strategies to support implementation of interventions to improve the mealtime experience for residents. View Full-Text
Keywords: aged care; nursing homes; dementia; food; food services aged care; nursing homes; dementia; food; food services
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Milte, R.; Bradley, C.; Miller, M.; Farrer, O.; Crotty, M. How Widely are Supportive and Flexible Food Service Systems and Mealtime Interventions Used for People in Residential Care Facilities? A Comparison of Dementia-Specific and Nonspecific Facilities. Healthcare 2018, 6, 140.

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