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J Nutr Health Aging. 2009 Jun;13(6):485-9.

Nurses knowledge and attitudes regarding nutrition in the elderly.

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School of Public Health, Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel.



Nurses in the community are in contact with the elderly at different levels of care. The aim of this study was to assess nurses' knowledge and attitudes regarding nutritional-care for the elderly, and the impact of their attitude on the quality of assessment-care they provide to this growing population in need of nutritional-care.


A structured questionnaire was distributed by mail to 600 nurses working in Maccabi-Health-Care-Services (MHS). The questionnaire assessed different aspects of elderly nutrition.


The vast majority (91%) of the participants reported treating elderly in their practice. Religious nurses and the nurses with an individual orientation specialty reported more positive attitudes about nutritional-care for the elderly than others did (p=0.05). Nurses with a bachelor's degree had better attitudes than registered nurses about the importance of nutrition for the elderly (p < 0.01). Younger nurses were found to be more knowledgeable than older ones (p < 0.04). The nurses perceived nutrition as influencing different health conditions, and 85% pointed to the importance of feeding at the end of life.


Nurses working in the community recognize the impact of proper nutrition on elderly patients' health, but need more training in screening for nutritional problems in the elderly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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