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BMC Nutr. 2020 Mar 18;6:11. doi: 10.1186/s40795-020-00335-w. eCollection 2020.

Older patients' and their family caregivers' perceptions of food, meals and nutritional care in the transition between hospital and home care: a qualitative study.

Author information

1
1Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo, Norway.
2
2Department of Nursing and Health Promotion, Faculty of Health Sciences, OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo, Norway.
3
Bjorknes University College, Lovisenberggata 13, 0456 Oslo, Norway.
4
European Palliative Care Research Centre (PRC), Department of Oncology, Oslo University Hospital and Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.

Abstract

Background:

Older people have varying degrees of unmet nutritional needs following discharge from hospital. Inadequate involvement of the older person and his or her family caregivers in care and care planning, and inadequate support of self-management in the discharge process and follow-up care at home, negatively affects the quality of care. Research on older patients' and their family caregivers' experiences with nutritional care in hospital and home care and in the transition between these settings is limited. Thus, the aim of this study was to explore older patients' and their family caregivers' perceptions regarding the food, meals and nutritional care provided in the transition between hospital and home care services, focusing on the first 30 days at home. The overall aim of this study is to produce knowledge that can inform policy and clinical practice about how to optimise the care provided to older persons that are malnourished or at risk of malnutrition.

Methods:

Using a qualitative interpretive descriptive design, we carried out face-to-face semi-structured interviews with 15 older patients, with documented risk of malnutrition or malnourishment (Mini Nutritional Assessment [MNA]), two and five weeks after hospital discharge. In addition, we interviewed nine family caregivers once during this five week period. The questions focused on perceptions of food, meals and nutritional care in hospital and home care and in the transition between these settings. We analysed the data thematically.

Results:

Four overarching themes emerged from the material: 1) the need for a comprehensive approach to nutritional care, 2) non-individualised nutritional care at home, 3) lack of mutual comprehension and shared decision making and 4) the role of family caregivers.

Conclusion:

The organisation of nutritional care and food provision to older people, depending on care, lack consideration for the individual's values, needs and preferences. Older patients' and their family caregivers' needs and preferences should guide how nutritional care is provided.

KEYWORDS:

Family caregivers; Home care; Hospital; Nutrition; Older persons; Person-centred care; Transitional care

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interestsThe authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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