Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

58% of older hospital patients have problems eating and 31% leave most of their meal

25.09.2006
Older patients need greater support, fewer interruptions and more sensitive care at mealtimes, according to research published in the October issue of the UK-based Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Researchers from the University of Adelaide, Australia, spent two weeks studying 48 hospital patients and 50 nurses during mealtimes on two medical wards.

They discovered that 58 per cent of the patients, who were aged 65 or over, had problems eating. Just under a third (31 per cent) left more than two-thirds of their meal and only 15 per cent had eaten it all.

More than half of the patients they studied (55 per cent) had problems opening food and about a third found it difficult to use cutlery (36 per cent) and add seasoning (32 per cent).

More than a fifth (23 per cent) were too far away from their food and 18 per cent said their eating position was uncomfortable or they had problems pouring drinks.

Although nurses were good at describing the food and encouraging patients to eat it, practical support was only given to a small percentage of patients. For example only six percent were made more comfortable or helped with cutlery.

Interruptions were also frequent. One in five patients (19 per cent) had a doctor’s visit during mealtimes and more than half (51 per cent) had mealtimes interrupted by other staff, mostly nurses (92 per cent).

Three patients were asked about their bowels while they were eating and four male patients had urine bottles place on the table beside meals.

“Recent research suggests that 40 per cent of older people are malnourished when they are admitted to hospital” says lead researcher Chenfan Xia, who was based at the University at the time of the study - with co-author Professor Helen McCutcheon - and now works in an aged care facility.

“The nutritional status of 60 per cent of all older patients will deteriorate further while they are in hospital, with those who were malnourished in the first place suffering worst. And insufficient food is regarded as a major cause of the problem.

“This is an important issue, especially with a growing elderly population, because poor nutrition and malnourishment is linked to poor health, slow recovery and longer hospital stays.

“However most of the research to date has been carried out in care homes, so little is known about the situation on hospital wards.”

The researchers make a number or recommendations:

•Nutrition should be given a higher priority in ward routines and staff training.

•Food intake needs to be monitored in the same way as urine output and drugs. The study found that monitoring was very patchy and often only covered fluid intake.

•Many patients were put off by large portion sizes and the researchers suggest that serving smaller portions at more regular intervals or providing nutritious drinks between meals are two possible solutions.

•Staff often took their meal breaks at the same time as the patients and these should be rescheduled to enable them to provide more help.

•Interruptions such as doctors’ visits should be discouraged during mealtimes and staff should be more sensitive about discussing or highlighting issues such as toileting during meal times.

Lack of support for older patients during mealtimes was also highlighted by a recent Age Concern survey carried out in the UK. The charity found that nine out of ten nurses don’t always have time to help patients who need help with eating and has launched a campaign – Hungry to be Heard – to tackle the issue in UK hospitals.

Annette Whibley | alfa
Further information:
http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/jcn

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer ISE Pushes World Record for Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells to 22.3 Percent

25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance

25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>