An investigation of the knowledge, skills and attitudes of carers of free-living elderly: prevention of undernutrition
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Undernutrition is common in elderly people with estimated prevalence in various settings ranging from 5-50%. Malnutrition in the elderly can significantly impact on an individual's quality of life and is also a costly burden on the health system. The aim of this study was to explore the nutrition knowledge, skills and attitudes of Home and Community Care (HACC) workers in the Gold Coast region using a qualitative research framework. Sixteen semi-structured phone interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically. The respondents showed an awareness of undernutrition in the elderly as well as favourable attitudes towards prevention. The HACC workers tended to follow the Malnutrition Screening Tool as protocol intended. The respondents also showed they have the skills to refer clients at risk of undernutrition to the recommended services or practitioners. Many respondents felt that their clients often lacked motivation to participate in health promoting behaviours or to accept assistance or referral. Further investigation is needed to understand why elderly people may lack motivation to improve their health or accept assistance from health services. Further interventions could be focussed on clients rather than the workforce.
Special Issue: Dietitians Association of Australia 28th National Conference
Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified