Decision-making regarding oral nutritional supplements for nursing home residents with advanced dementia: A cross-sectional pilot study
SourceJournal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 35, 1, (2022), pp. 58-67
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
SubjectRadboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
BACKGROUND: Surrogate decision-making regarding oral nutritional supplements (ONS) for nursing home residents with advanced dementia is a complex process. In this cross-sectional study, we assessed whether Dutch dietitians, elderly care physicians (physicians) and surrogate decision-makers (SDMs) differ in the factors that they regard important when considering ONS. We also investigated differences in opinion regarding whether or not ONS is a life-prolonging measure. METHODS: Through an online survey, 90 dietitians, 53 physicians and 70 SDMs of nursing home residents (all aged ≥ 65 years old with advanced dementia) rated the level of perceived influence of 11 pre-defined factors on their decision-making, ranked factors in order of importance and stated whether they considered ONS a life-prolonging measure or not. By statistical analysis, we tested differences in the mean sum of ranks for perceived influence differing between groups. We also tested differences in proportions between groups of those who considered ONS a life-prolonging measure. RESULTS: Rating of perceived influence significantly differed for six factors. Quality of life was ranked as the most influential factor by all groups. Dietitians significantly differed in their opinion on the life-prolonging effect of ONS from physicians (odds ratio = 0.29, 95% confidence interval = 0.13-0.65), as well as from SDMs (odds ratio = 0.22, 95% confidence interval = 0.10-0.45). CONCLUSIONS: Although all groups proclaimed quality of life to be first priority in decision-making, we found that Dutch dietitians, physicians and SDMs differed in what they regarded important when considering ONS for nursing home residents with advanced dementia. Regarding the life-prolonging effect of ONS, dietitians differed in opinion from physicians, as well as from SDMs.
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