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Designing for Health and Appetite: Nutrition and Interior Design Professionals Create Appropriate Environments to Achieve Meal Satisfaction in Dementia Residents

      Objective

      To assess current practices used by facilities caring for dementia residents to determine their understanding of the benefits of appropriate foodservice environmental design which may contribute to meal satisfaction and reduce unintentional weight loss.

      Study Design

      One hundred and fifteen surveys were provided to administrators to assess knowledge of menu and design appropriateness of facilities to achieve meal time satisfaction.

      Setting and Participants

      Thirty-one facilities completed the survey, including elder residential communities, elder daycare support communities, an inpatient acute care hospital, an acute care/rehab unit and Meals on Wheels Senior Center.

      Results

      Fifty-five percent of participants allow their dementia residents an hour or longer to consume their meals. Seventy-one percent use plated meal service and only two facilities use family meal service. Forty-two percent of facilities play background music during periods of eating but no universal design was identified to enhance appetite in all the facilities. Only 45.2% routinely performed subjective global assessment (SGA) on their dementia residents.

      Conclusions and Implications

      There are still gaps present in the implementation of policies of universal design that were obvious to enhance food intake and mealtime satisfaction in dementia residents. It is apparent that many facilities need to be educated on the appropriate care to enhance mealtime satisfaction and ensure that dementia residents were receiving proper nutritional care. Policies are needed for universal design to enhance dementia dining facilities. Recommendations were provided to the facilities. The survey instrument could also be improved to define design principles in detail.

      Funding

      None

      Supplementary data