Projects per year
Objective: To investigate the impact of a train-the-trainer program on the nutritional status of older people in residential care. Design: Prospective, randomized controlled study. Setting: Eight nursing homes in Southeast Queensland, Australia. Participants: A total of 352 residents participated - 245 were female (69.6%). The mean age was 84.2 years and the majority (79.4%) were classified as high dependency. Intervention: Residents from four nursing homes were randomly selected for a nutrition education program coordinated by Nutrition Coordinators. Residents from the other four nursing homes (control) received usual care. Measurements: The Subjective Global Assessment was used to determine prevalence of malnutrition at baseline and six months post intervention. The Resident Classification Scale measured functional dependency. Prescribed diet, fluids, oral hygiene status and allied health referrals were obtained by chart audit. Results: Approximately half the residents were well nourished with 49.4% moderately or severely malnourished. Residents in the intervention group were more likely to maintain or improve their nutritional status compared with the control group who were more likely to experience a deterioration (P=0.027). The odds of the control group being malnourished post test was 1.6 times more likely compared with the intervention group but this did not reach statistical significance (P=0.1). Conclusion: The results of the study encourage the implementation of a Nutrition Coordinator program to maintain nutritional status of aged care residents. Nevertheless, malnutrition rates continue to be unacceptably high. In a rapidly aging society, the aged care sector needs to confront malnutrition and provide better resources for staff to take measures against this problem.