Over the course of a 48-week trial, researchers at Vanderbilt University assessed the unintentional weight loss of 76 nursing home residents. During the first 24 weeks, half of the group received additional attention during mealtime while the other half served as a control group. For the second 24 weeks, the groups switched roles. Researchers noticed that 52% of residents maintained their weight when they were part of the extra attention group. That compares with 28% of residents in the control group.
During the study, “extra attention” constituted one-on-one sessions of 42 minutes per resident per meal and 14 minutes per resident per snack. Researchers suggest that groups of three or four residents per staff member during mealtimes are more practical and just as effective as one-on-one care.
They could have gotten a group of CNA’s together and reached the same conclusion. Time. Everything takes time. Something the current staffing standards of nursing homes cannot provide. A CNA can be assigned to sit a table with a group of residents for each meal. The aide can eat her own meal and converse with and supervise at the same time. It doesn’t have to be a CNA. It can be an administrator, a DON, an activity aide, even a housekeeper. Anyone can sit down and enjoy the company of residents. It takes some thinking outside the old dusty box.