Feasibility of the nurse nutrition intervention ‘Nurses For Food’ to improve nutritional intake in hospitalized patients
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Feasibility of ‘Nurses For Food’ to improve nutritional intake Background: An evidence-based nurse nutrition intervention ‘Nurses for Food’ (NFF) focussed on the nurse and the patient, has been developed to improve nutritional care and patient empowerment in hospitals. For nurses, the included elements of intervention consisted of an e-learning, work instructions, start- and follow-up meetings, and an infographic. For the patients, a Self-Evaluation of Food Intake (SEFI)® card and an infographic were provided. Here, the feasibility of NFF was evaluated. Aim: To evaluate the feasibility of a nurse nutrition intervention ‘NFF’ in the hospital setting regarding reach and recruitment, dose delivered, fidelity of delivery, fidelity of treatment, acceptability of nurses and patients with (a risk for) malnutrition. Method: A multi-centred quantitative feasibility study was performed wherein NFF was delivered in addition to usual care during the intervention period of five months. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this feasibility study was temporarily paused. An alternative analysis of data was performed based on the research question ‘What is the motivation and self-reported knowledge regarding nutritional care from nurses and nurse assistants in an academic hospital in the period before implementation of the NFF study?’ An online survey that focused on different aspects of nutritional care in hospitals was sent to 175 nurses and nurse assistants working in various wards in an academic hospital. When ‘nurses’ are appointed in this article, this also includes nurse assistants. Results The survey was completed by 54 nurses (response rate 31%). Regarding the motivation in nutritional care, 84% of nurses indicated that nutritional care is important in their daily work, while a majority (67%) felt they often lack time to provide nutritional care. Additionally, 48% of respondents felt that responsibilities of nurses in nutritional care were unclear. The self-reported knowledge regarding nutritional care is indicated with a median of 7 on a 10-point scale by the respondents. Conclusions Nurses have an acceptable motivation and a relatively high self-reported knowledge in the treatment of malnourished patients. Yet, malnutrition is not considered as a priority among other duties. Recommendations A nurse nutrition intervention with a context-oriented implementation strategy that focuses on nurses’ behaviour in nutritional care is essential to optimize treatment of malnourished patients and to ensure that nutrition is an important part of the nursing function.