Background: Since 1995, significant efforts by authorities and researchers have been directed towards addressing the nutritional problems in Danish hospitals and nursing homes. Aim: The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the increased focus on nutritional problems in patients and nursing home residents has resulted in measurable progress. Design: A questionnaire-based study was carried out among foodservice managers in Danish hospitals (n = 96) and nursing homes (n = 898) in 1995 and 2002/3 (n = 90) and (n = 682), respectively. The study used compliance with selected issues in the official Danish recommendations for institutional food service as an indicator for progress. The issues included: using nutrient calculated recipes/menus, offering menu choice options, using feedback routines on acceptability of menus, maintaining nutritional steering committees, employing food and nutrition contact persons, employing official recommendations and offering choice between three different menu energy levels. Results: Hospitals had a higher compliance compared to nursing homes. In 1995, this was the case for all questions asked and differences were statistically significant. Also in 2002/3, hospitals had a higher compliance, except in the case of established feedback routines. Differences were statistically significant. The results indicate that nutritional care is higher on the agenda in hospital, than in nursing homes. However, very little progress can be seen in compliance when results are analysed over the 8-year period. The only progress for nursing homes was that more homes had implemented feedback routines on acceptability of food service in 2002/3 than in 1995. The difference was statistically significant. For hospitals, however, no progress was found between 1995 and 2002/3. Conclusion: The attempts to improve the nutritional status of hospital patients and nursing home residents seem to have failed. Still, the initiatives taken to improve the situation seem relevant. Especially the nursing homes might benefit from advantage of these experiences.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2007, Vol 61, Issue 1, p. 129-134
nursing home residents; questionnaire; patients; undernutrition