Watch the video clip above to learn more about the Making the Most of Mealtimes (M3) research study!
Making the Most of Mealtimes (M3)
A research team led by Heather Keller, PhD, RD, FDC (Schlegel Research Chair in Nutrition & Aging, University of Waterloo) has been exploring what residents living in long-term care eat and what factors promote better nutrient intake. The study took place from 2014 – 2016. Information was gathered from over 600 residents, across 32 homes in 4 provinces (Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Ontario), and the key findings are in!
The research shows that:
- Daily food and fluid intake was low for many residents in the M3 study.
- The 9 nutrients most likely to fall below recommendations were vitamin D, vitamin E, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
- Residents who ate fewer calories and protein were more likely to be female, at risk of malnutrition, of older age, consumed pureed foods, had a number of eating challenges during mealtimes (e.g., trouble holding food in the mouth, little or no interest in eating), and required some but not total support for eating.
- Residents who ate more calories and protein were more likely to live in a memory care neighbourhood, need total eating assistance, and received person-centered care at mealtimes (e.g., their preferences, needs and values were respected).
- Residents who had better protein intake were more likely to live in homes with more dedicated dietitian time.
What’s Next for Mealtimes in Long-Term Care?
The findings from the M3 study highlight opportunity areas to improve food intake and mealtimes in long-term care:
- Improving the nutrient content of food, especially pureed foods,
- Helping residents to eat independently and overcome eating challenges, and
- Training team members on person-centered care practices during mealtimes.
Research is already underway to address some of the M3 key findings:
- Nutrition in Disguise: Exploring ways to increase the nutrient density of foods served in long-term care by adding or substituting ingredients and putting key menu planning strategies into place.
- CHOICE+ Training Program: An educational program to promote person-centred dining practices in long-term care has been developed and is being tested.
Interested in Improving Mealtimes?
Please see below for resources to help make the most of mealtimes in long-term care:
- CHOICE+ Mealtime Practices Checklist: to encourage person-centred practices at mealtimes
- CHOICE + Dining Room Checklist: to make dining rooms welcoming, comfortable, and enjoyable to be in
- Mealtime Satisfaction Questionnaire: to understand residents’ preferences and satisfaction with mealtimes
- Tips for Better Pureed Foods: is a resource about improving texture-modified foods for older adults with swallowing difficulties
Please see below for nutrition resources to promote healthy aging:
- Agriculture for Healthy Aging Infographics
- Recipe Resource for Healthy Aging
- A Guide to Healthy Eating for Older Adults (available from Eat Right Ontario)
- Nutri-eScreen: Online nutrition screening for older adults (available from Eat Right Ontario)
Please see below for nutrition and mealtime resources for people living with dementia and their care partners: