A study of the nutritional training, knowledge, and practices of nursing and residential home care assistants in Cardiff, South Wales.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Malnutrition is a serious problem among older people living in nursing and residential homes. Evidence suggests that care home staff lack sufficient nutritional knowledge to meet the dietary needs of elderly residents. This study investigated the nutritional training, knowledge, and practices of nursing and residential home care assistants in Cardiff, South Wales. A questionnaire was completed by 30 care assistants working in care homes in the Cardiff area. 77% of care assistants had received previous nutritional training. The average nutritional knowledge score achieved by all participants was 83%. Care assistants who had received nutritional training had a higher mean score, and those who had received the training within six months scored better. Although the overall score was good, there were some statements relating to nutritional support measures and supplement use that were not well understood. In addition, findings suggest that simple nutritional support measures are not being utilised, and the use of nutritional supplements may be inappropriate. It is recommended that nutrition should become a compulsory element of care assistant training. A regular nutrition education program could benefit care home residents and staff. In particular, practical nutritional support measures could be demonstrated.
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