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This research was part of a PhD project aimed at developing a mealtime intervention to improve the health and wellbeing of older people in residential care. It is essential that first hand experiences of existing care provision are sought, in order that they may inform subsequent stages of research, in particular the development of an intervention itself.
This study had the following aims:
The study involved semi-structured one-to-one interviews with care home residents with a focus on the experience of mealtimes, including the social environment in which these take place.
Both male and female care home residents aged 65 years or older were included in the study. Residents who could not give consent independently due to severe cognitive impairment were excluded. Sampling ceased once theoretical saturation was reached (i.e. when no new themes were emerging from the data).
The data collated from the interviews were analysed using a combination of Thematic Analysis and Grounded Theory. The aim of the analysis was to organise the data in a meaningful way so as to be able to develop a theory of the forms, functions and consequences of mealtime experiences in the care home environment.
Possible ethical issues were likely to be based on participant confidentiality, and given the vulnerable status of the sample population, on safeguarding and welfare issues, as well as the potential for some participants to have communication difficulties.
The Care Quaility Commission recognised this research as a contributor to the 'Outstanding' rating awarded to participation care homes.
Watkins R, Goodwin VA, Abbott RA, Backhouse A, Moore D, Tarrant M (2017). Attitudes, perceptions and experiences of mealtimes among residents and staff in care homes for older adults: A systematic review of the qualitative literature. Geriatric Nursing
Watkins R, Goodwin VA, Abbot RA, Hall A, Tarrant M (2017). Exploring residents' experiences of mealtimes in care homes: A qualitative interview study. BMC Geriatrics 17:141
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