Researchers examine how nursing houses can accommodate overweight residents

The stereotype of the skinny, frail nursing house resident does not mirror at the moment’s actuality. About 30 % of nursing house residents are overweight. Nicholas Fort, chair of the WVU Division of Well being Coverage, Administration and Management, is researching how you can enhance outcomes on this inhabitants. Credit score: WVU

About 30 % of nursing house residents are overweight. That may complicate their care. The ability may have to purchase them particular wheelchairs or motorized lifts. Nursing aides could wrestle to assist them bathe. And medical doctors could grapple with how—and even whether or not—to limit their diets.

West Virginia College researcher Nicholas Fort is a part of a staff investigating how nursing houses can finest meet overweight residents’ healthcare wants. The Company for Healthcare Analysis and High quality—a division of the Division of Well being and Human Providers—has awarded them practically $2 million for the undertaking.

“It is a five-year initiative to tease out if nursing houses are ready or not,” mentioned Fort, who chairs the Faculty of Public Well being’s Division of Well being Coverage, Administration and Management. “The sensible a part of it’s, we’re attempting to get finest practices from these nursing houses that appear to know what they’re doing with overweight residents. If we are able to discover out what they’re doing, we are able to disseminate that to those who have not had as a lot expertise.”

The five-year undertaking additionally entails John Engberg, of the RAND Company, and is led by John Harris, of the College of Pittsburgh.

In a earlier examine, Fort, Engberg and Harris evaluated national- and county-level knowledge to see if staffing ranges at nursing houses throughout america are related to residents’ weight problems charges. Their findings, printed within the Journal of Utilized Gerontology, counsel that top concentrations of overweight residents correlate to decrease staffing ranges.

“We’d have thought the alternative,” Fort mentioned. “With residents who’re overweight, you’ll anticipate extra intense quantities of labor for use with them, similar to shifting them, getting them out and in of rooms and toileting. You’d suppose that extra nurse aides could be wanted to assist—not fewer.” This can be one indication that some nursing houses want finest practices on this space, he added.

Constructing on these findings, the researchers will conduct a nationwide survey of nursing houses to determine the considerations that encompass caring for overweight residents and decide how nursing houses are responding. Methods could embrace rising staffing ranges, shopping for particular tools or making architectural modifications—similar to widening doorways. The staff may even observe care supply at roughly 50 nursing houses, the place they are going to interview caregivers, directors, residents and their members of the family to raised perceive the measures nursing houses are utilizing and what they imply for overweight residents.

Utilizing nationwide knowledge, Fort and his collaborators will then study the connection between various kinds of methods and unfavourable well being outcomes—similar to strain ulcers, urinary tract infections and hospital readmissions—in overweight residents.

By figuring out the commonalities amongst nursing houses the place overweight residents have exceptionally good outcomes, the researchers will develop a toolkit to assist nursing houses accommodate the overweight. “It could be staffing, nevertheless it could be some instrumentation that they’ve within the rooms. It could be wider doorways, nevertheless it additionally could be coaching. We do not know but,” Fort mentioned.

Their discoveries may assist information customers towards nursing houses which are particularly adept at caring for overweight residents.

“If you happen to have been the member of the family of an elder who was overweight,” Fort mentioned, “we would be capable to let you know that in the event you go to a facility the place 10, 15, 20 % of the inhabitants is overweight, they know how you can take care of somebody like this.”

Does weight problems result in extra nursing house admission and a decrease high quality of care?

Extra info:
John Alexander Harris et al, Organizational and Geographic Nursing Dwelling Traits Related With Rising Prevalence of Resident Weight problems in america, Journal of Utilized Gerontology (2019). DOI: 10.1177/0733464819843045

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