Malnutrition and dehydration are common in nursing home residents. Due to a multifactorial origin of both problems, the underlying causes may differ between individual residents, making individualized intervention strategies necessary to ensure adequate food and fluid intake.
Previous studies addressing prevention and treatment of malnutrition and dehydration in nursing home residents almost exclusively focused on single strategies, mainly oral nutritional supplements and food enrichment. Individualized and multimodal intervention concepts are scarce up to now.
During the first funding period (FP1) of enable several products and concepts aiming at improving food and fluid intake of older adults were developed and pilot tested: a protein-rich drink, texture-modified, reshaped, and enriched meals for people with chewing and swallowing difficulties, and technical devices (games, smartMug) to increase fluid intake. As these strategies address different problems they are suitable to be combined in a multimodal and individualized nutritional care concept to increase energy, protein and/or fluid intake of older people.
In this subproject several strategies to improve food and fluid intake will be merged to an individualized multimodal nutritional care concept. This concept will be implemented and practiced in 2-3 nursing homes to examine its effects on energy, protein and fluid intake as well as on body weight, functional status and quality of life compared to usual care.
To identify appropriate nutritional intervention modules, a specific tool to assess individual needs will be developed and pilot-tested prior to the start of the study. Furthermore, products and strategies developed during enable FP1 will be optimized and adapted to the specific nursing home needs.
After the intervention study, its feasibility, burden for the nursing staff as well as motivators and barriers for a successful intervention will be assessed and evaluated in the participating nursing homes.
The general aim of the project is to prevent and treat malnutrition and dehydration in older people living in nursing homes.
Detailed objectives of the present project are
- to develop a tool to identify individual needs and appropriate nutritional interventions
- to optimize food products and enrichment techniques for effective application
- to test whether an individualized multimodal nutritional care intervention is more effective than standard nutritional care to ensure adequate food and fluid intake
- to evaluate feasibility of the concept regarding time and personnel expenditures
- to identify major motivators and barriers for successful intervention.