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: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New insights into the ancestors of all complex life

29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources

29.05.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space

29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>