Research Institute for Aging
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Making the Most of Mealtimes

Making the Most of Mealtimes

Topics: Food and Nutrition Status: Active

Making the Most of Mealtimes was the largest research project of its kind to explore food and nutrition in long-term care homes, and the role of the mealtime experience.

Although it is both preventable and treatable, there has been very little research looking at the reasons behind poor food intake in long-term care, and how it can be improved. Making the Most of Mealtimes (M3) explored 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). The research showed 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.

Other Researchers

  • Alison Duncan, University of Guelph
  • Catriona Steele, University of Toronto
  • Christina Lengyel, University of Manitoba
  • Lisa Duizer, University of Guelph
  • Lita Villalon, Université de Moncton
  • Minn Yoon, University of Alberta
  • Natalie Carrier, Université de Moncton
  • Steve Brown, University of Waterloo
  • Susan Slaughter, University of Alberta
  • Veronique Boscart, Conestoga College
  • Dr. George Heckman, University of Waterloo

Funding provided by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (for original 2014)

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