A study of Support Workers personal knowledge of and attitudes towards healthy eating practices, and their knowledge of and attitudes towards healthy eating practices in a Care Home for people with Learning Disabilities.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background Obesity is a key contributing factor to the health inequity faced by people with learning disabilities (LD’s). Methods A cross-sectional analysis was undertaken with a small quota sample (n=20) of SW’s aged 18-65 years, who worked in a Care Home (CH) for adults with learning disabilities (LD’s). A self-administered, quantitative questionnaire, was developed to meet the aim of this study. Results The study had a high response rate of 90% (n=18). Support Worker’s (SW’s) had limited personal knowledge in certain areas of nutrition, based on government healthy eating recommendations. More than half 56% (n=10) of the Support Worker’s (SW’s) did not consume the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables. All participants felt their diet and lifestyle choices influenced Service Users (SU’s) diet and lifestyle choices, 100% (n=18). The main nutritional issue that Support Worker’s (SW’s) felt were experienced by Service Users (SU’s), was not consuming enough healthy snacks, 94% (n=17). The Support Workers (SW’s) thought that a lack of their own nutritional knowledge and training, was the most influential barrier to the provision of healthy eating practices in the Care Home (CH). 61% of Support Workers (SW’s) wanted additional nutritional training. A training day or talk from a Dietitian, was reported by Support Workers (SW’s), to be the most valued format of additional information, 72% (n=13). Conclusions Support Workers (SW’s) who worked in a Care Home (CH) for adults with learning disabilities (LD’s), lacked the full range of nutritional knowledge. This has an influence on the dietary intake of people with Learning Disabilities (LD’s) in the Care Home (CH).
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