A pilot RCT of a multi-component nutrition intervention for nursing home residents with dementia

Beattie, Elizabeth, Fielding, Elaine, Isenring, Liz, Agarwal, Ekta, & Travers, Catherine (2016) A pilot RCT of a multi-component nutrition intervention for nursing home residents with dementia. In 47th AAG Conference, 26-28 November 2015, Adelaide, S.A.



Malnutrition and unintentional weight loss are major clinical issues in people with dementia living in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) and are associated with serious adverse outcomes. However, evidence regarding effective interventions is limited and strategies to improve the nutritional status of this population are required. This presentation describes the implementation and results of a pilot randomised controlled trial of a multi-component intervention for improving the nutritional status of RACF residents with dementia.


Fifteen residents with moderate-severe dementia living in a secure long-term RACF participated in a five week pilot study. Participants were randomly allocated to either an Intervention (n=8) or Control group (n=7). The intervention comprised four elements delivered in a separate dining room at lunch and dinner: the systematic reinforcement of residents’ eating behaviors using a specific communication protocol; family-style dining; high ambiance table presentation; and routine Dietary-Nutrition Champion supervision. Control group participants ate their meals according to the facility’s standard practice. Baseline and follow-up assessments of nutritional status, food consumption, and body mass index were obtained by qualified nutritionists. Additional assessments included measures of cognitive functioning, mealtime agitation, depression, wandering status and multiple measures of intervention fidelity.


No participant was malnourished at study commencement and participants in both groups gained weight from follow-up to baseline which was not significantly different between groups (t=0.43; p=0.67). A high degree of treatment fidelity was evident throughout the intervention. Qualitative data from staff indicate the intervention was perceived to be beneficial for residents.


This multi-component nutritional intervention was well received and was feasible in the RACF setting. Participants’ sound nutritional status at baseline likely accounts for the lack of an intervention effect. Further research using this protocol in malnourished residents is recommended. For success, a collaborative approach between researchers and facility staff, particularly dietary staff, is essential.

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ID Code: 93130
Item Type: Conference Item (Poster)
Refereed: Yes
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000) > Aged Care Nursing (111001)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 [Please consult the author]
Deposited On: 23 Feb 2016 00:30
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2016 00:30

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