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Nutritional self-care in two older Norwegian males: a case study

Authors Tomstad S, Soderhamn U, Espnes GA, Söderhamn O

Received 20 March 2013

Accepted for publication 15 April 2013

Published 31 May 2013 Volume 2013:8 Pages 609—620


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Solveig T Tomstad,1,2 Ulrika Söderhamn,2 Geir Arild Espnes,1,3 Olle Söderhamn2

1Department of Social Work and Health Science, Faculty of Social Sciences and Technology Management, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, 2Centre for Caring Research-Southern Norway, Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Agder, Grimstad, 3Research Centre for Health Promotion and Resources, Department of Social Work and Health Science, Faculty of Social Sciences and Technology Management, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

Background: Knowledge about how to support nutritional self-care in the vulnerable elderly living in their own homes is an important area for health care professionals. The aim of this case study was to evaluate the effects of nutritional intervention by comparing perceived health, sense of coherence, self-care ability, and nutritional risk in two older home-dwelling individuals before, during, and after intervention and to describe their experiences of nutritional self-care before and after intervention.
Methods: A study circle was established to support nutritional self-care in two older home-dwelling individuals (≥65 years of age), who participated in three meetings arranged by health professionals over a period of six months. The effects of this study circle were evaluated using the Nutritional Form For the Elderly, the Self-care Ability Scale for the Elderly (SASE), the Appraisal of Self-care Agency scale, the Sense of Coherence (SOC) scale, and responses to a number of health-related questions. Qualitative interviews were performed before and after intervention to interpret the changes that occurred during intervention.
Results: A reduced risk of undernutrition was found for both participants. A higher total score on the SASE was obtained for one participant, along with a slightly stronger preference for self-care to maintain sufficient food intake, was evident. For the other participant, total score on the SASE decreased, but the SOC score improved after intervention. Decreased mobility was reported, but this did not influence his food intake. The study circle was an opportunity to express personal views and opinions about food intake and meals.
Conclusion: An organized meeting place for dialogue between older home-dwelling individuals and health care professionals can stimulate the older person’s engagement, consciousness, and learning about nutritional self-care, and thereby be of importance in reducing the risk of undernutrition.

Keywords: elderly, health promotion, intervention, study circle

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