Care home staff's experiences and views of supporting the dietary management and choices of older residents with obesity

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Abstract

Background: Rising numbers of older people with obesity living in care homes is an international phenomenon. Addressing dietary management of residents with obesity is a cause of debate and controversy. On one hand, the ‘obesity paradox’ suggests obesity protects against morbidity in frail older people. On the other hand, obesity reduces functional status and restricts activity for this group. This paper considers care home staff's experience and views of supporting dietary management and choice for residents with obesity within the context of this controversy. Design: In this qualitative study, 33 staff from seven care homes in the North East England participated in focus groups, and data were analysed using Braun and Clarkes's (2006) six-phase thematic analysis approach. Findings: Findings indicate that participants’ support of dietary management and choice for residents with obesity may be strongly influenced by the care home environment. Care priorities, dietary management approaches, care home life and family involvement in residents’ dietary intake facilitate and encourage weight gain, and as such, pose challenges for staff attempting to support weight management of residents with obesity. Conclusion: Findings suggest that in the care home setting, nutrition policy, guidelines and service commissioning processes and staff nutrition education should include management of obesity. Furthermore, families should be supported to understand the implications of their own caring behaviours on residents’ nutritional status.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12343
Number of pages10
JournalInternational journal of older people nursing
Volume15
Issue number4
Early online date15 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

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