Wen Liu, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor

Donor: Barbara and Richard Csomay Faculty Research Award

Project: Development and Feasibility of Self-Eating Focused Care for Nursing Home Residents with Dementia

Funding Year: 2016 - 2018

Project Description

Background: Cognitively impaired individuals are at increased risk for functional and behavioral difficulties at mealtimes, leading to compromised eating performance, low food and fluid intake, and negative functional and nutritional outcomes. Nursing assistants are the most critical front-line care staff and best positioned to manage the personal and environmental factors that influence resident eating performance. However, current staff training programs primarily focused on feeding skills, rather than engagement, quality communication, and dyadic interaction, and fail to address staff reported needs for knowledge and skills to provide optimal mealtime care.

ObjectivesThe project aims to 1) examine nursing assistants’ perceptions of the facilitators and barriers to engaging cognitively impaired residents at mealtimes; and 2) develop a nursing staff behavioral training protocol that include targeted nursing interventions addressing major mealtime problematic behaviors to improve residents’ eating performance.

Population: Older adults with dementia living in nursing facilities and their staff caregivers.

Population: Older adults with dementia living in nursing facilities and their staff caregivers.

Approach: A qualitative descriptive design was used to examine nursing assistants’ perceptions of barriers and facilitators to engaging residents in eating (Aim 1). The qualitative findings will inform the development of a staff training program that teaches and motivates nursing assistants to effectively engage residents with dementia in eating at mealtimes (Aim 2).

Results: Nursing assistants identified multilevel barriers as well as a wide range of caregiver and environmental facilitators to optimizing dementia mealtime care. The qualitative findings affirmed a great need as well as feasibility for developing a targeted, individualized, resident-centered approach to promote engagement at mealtimes.

Outcomes: Findings of the study have been published in a peer reviewed journal. Findings have been used in developing the staff training program, and an NIH grant focusing on finalizing development and feasibility testing of the staff training program is to be submitted.

Citation of the publication: Liu, W., Tripp-Reimer, T., Williams, K., & Shaw, C. (2018). Facilitators and barriers to optimizing eating performance among cognitively impaired older adults: A qualitative study of nursing assistants’ perspectives. Dementia. DOI: 10.1177/1471301218815053. PDF iconPublication in PDF

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