Staff attitudes towards the provision of nutritional care to Alzheimer patients

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Abstract

Patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) are particularly vulnerable to many of the risk factors of malnutrition. The delivery of nutritional care to these patients is an essential component in reversing or averting the development of malnutrition in this population group. The attitudes of the staff involved in the care of these patients may greatly influence the quality of care provided. Staff of special care units (SCU) for dementia patients and of adult day care programs (ADC) filled out a questionnaire designed to determine their attitudes towards the provision of nutritional care to AD patients. SCU staff scored significantly higher (p < .05) than ADC staff in only two of the twenty attitude statements: “Iprefer feeding residents who are restrained” and “I am concerned about the nutritional status of the residents” which may be explained by the possible differences in the severity of the disease of the client population served. Overall, results of this survey indicate that staff of ADC and SCU have relatively positive attitudes toward the provision of nutritional care for those with dementia and that they enjoy situations that allow positive interactions with clients. These results suggest that staff may have the inclination to increase their nutritional care efforts and to participate in training programs designed to reduce or to avert the development of malnutrition in AD.

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