SourceJ Clin Nurs 2007 Nov; 16(11)
The aim of this study was to examine attitudes of the nursing staff in geriatric care towards factors of importance for nutritional nursing care.Studies show that nutritional risk assessment is seldom performed on older patients as routine and very few patients have a nutritional care plan. Patients in long-term care who are easy to feed are also found to be looked upon more positively than those with high feeding needs.A total of 252 registered nurses and nurse aids working at geriatric rehabilitation and medical care clinics and resident homes participated in the study. Attitudes were examined using the Staff Attitudes to Nutritional Nursing Care Geriatric scale. The scale includes 18 items and was designed as a one to five-point Lickert-type scale. It gives a total score and five subscales representing the dimensions 'Norms', 'Habits', 'Assessment', 'Intervention' and 'Individualization'. A higher score indicates a more positive attitude.Of all nursing staff, 53% displayed a positive attitude towards factors of importance for nutritional nursing care and the rest displayed a neutral or negative attitude. The 'Intervention' dimension, dealing with nutritional problems and how to manage them, reflected the highest level of positive attitudes, which represents 71% of the nursing staff. The 'Norms' dimension had the lowest relative frequency of positive attitudes, 27%. The registered nurses held significantly more positive attitudes than the nurse aids did.Nutritional issues comprise an important and time-consuming responsibility in geriatric care; however, nursing staff do not show an unequivocal positive attitude regarding this responsibility. The consequences this entails for the older patient need to be examined further. Relevance to clinical practice. Nursing staff play an important role in caring for patients who are malnourished or at risk for malnutrition. Positive attitudes might hinder the development of undernourishment or the further worsening of an already undernourished patient's condition.
MeshAttitude of Health PersonnelDieteticsGeriatricsHumansNursing StaffNutritional StatusRisk Assessment
Journal Article Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't