Mette Holst, Birgitte Schantz Laursen and Henrik H Rasmussen
Better organization may improve quality of care around meal serving in a hospital unit.
Background: The organization of care regarding serving of food, monitoring and assisting patients with meals is a complex nursing task, however, to a low degree investigated. This study was done at request from the department multi professional nutrition team, as nutrition monitoring was difficult to achieve. Furthermore meal serving, especially regarding dinner, was found chaotic and unsatisfying.
Aim: To explore practise and organization around meal serving regarding dinner and find reasons for poor monitoring of nutrition intake.
Methods: Observations as well as patient and staff interviews and observation in a department of gastroenterology in 2010.
Results: Ten patients, six nursing staff and four service staff members were interviewed. Observations weredone for nine hours during two days of dinner servings. A positive and helpful attitude was seen. How ever, lack of time, knowledge, lack of assignment of responsibility and many competing tasks interfered with the meal serving and elated tasks. Low priority was given to assisting patients with eating and to documentation of individual nutritional assessment and care. Poor monitoring of nutrition intake was seen, due to insufficient training of service staff and lack of communication of responsibility.
Conclusion: A poor organisation of the overall work was found. The nurses had too many competing tasks. Lack of knowledge, documentation and acknowledgement of importance of own actions, was profound among the nursing-staff regarding nutritional care during dinner serving.
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