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Best intentions or best practice? A case study of the nutritional needs and outcomes of a person with dementia living in a residential aged care home


Lea, EJ and Goldberg, LR and Price, AD and Tierney, LT and McInerney, FJ, Best intentions or best practice? A case study of the nutritional needs and outcomes of a person with dementia living in a residential aged care home, International Journal of Nursing Practice, 25, (1) Article e12692. ISSN 1322-7114 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2018 John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd

DOI: doi:10.1111/ijn.12692


Aims: To evaluate the nutritional status and needs of a person with dementia living in an aged care home, including identification of barriers to, and effective strategies for, the provision of person‐centred care.

Background: Nutrition and hydration care are integral to quality of life for adults with dementia, but there is little research on whether staff knowledge around effective care strategies for residents is translated into optimal care.

Design: Focused ethnographic single‐case design.

Methods: The perspectives of the resident, her prime family member, and six care staff were triangulated through interviews, observation, document audit, and medical file review to investigate the resident's nutrition and hydration status and needs (October 2014‐April 2015).

Results: During 3 years in care, this resident had lost weight steadily. Staff appeared attentive but did not maintain a systematic record of body mass index. At meals, staff encouraged eating but used ineffective strategies. Food was not served in ways that facilitated active participation. Eating and drinking were structured as tasks to be completed rather than activities to be enjoyed.

Conclusion: This instrumental case study identified a task‐oriented, rather than person‐centred, approach to nutrition and hydration care, adversely affecting the resident's nutritional health and capability to participate actively.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:aged care homes, dementia, nursing, nutrition status, single-case study
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Nutrition and dietetics
Research Field:Nutrition and dietetics not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Nutrition
UTAS Author:Lea, EJ (Dr Emma Lea)
UTAS Author:Goldberg, LR (Associate Professor Lyn Goldberg)
UTAS Author:Price, AD (Miss Andrea Price)
UTAS Author:Tierney, LT (Mrs Laura Tierney)
UTAS Author:McInerney, FJ (Professor Fran McInerney)
ID Code:127725
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2018-08-10
Last Modified:2019-04-01

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