Positive perceptions on mealtimes in residential aged care facilities

Paige Chewter, Stacie Attrill, Michelle Bennett, Emma Harsanyi, Zaneta Mok

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Background: Mealtimes are a universal experience shaped by experiences, values and preferences. Mealtime experience often changes when there is a transition to residential aged care facilities (RACF), due to adjustments to new environments and the evolution of disease. Research has been conducted to investigate the mealtime experience of people with dementia in the home and how changes to the psychosocial and physical environment
can improve food intake. However, limited exploration of the mealtime experience from the perspective of the resident has occurred.

Aim/s: To describe similarities and differences between a positive mealtime experience in the family home and in RACFs from the perspective of residents.

Method: 34 permanent RACF residents narrated stories in two interviews about mealtimes; one interview about mealtimes in the RACF and one interview about mealtimes in the home. Inductive analysis, followed by deductive analysis using the Making the Most of Mealtimes (M3) theory as a lens, was used to identify themes.

Results: Five major themes were identified for each dataset, four of which were shared. These themes lead to the development of the ‘Positive Mealtimes in RACFs’ model.

Conclusion: A number of elements combined to create positive mealtimes in both the home and RACF environments. Rules and rituals overwhelm mealtimes and dining, but it is the social connections that are made that are the most important. The social environment and pleasure in food also enhanced enjoyment. Without the social connections, the rules and rituals become solely the consumption of food. As speech pathologists, we need to work with RACF staff to identify these elements and advocate for residents.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventINSPIRE 2018 Adelaide: Speech Pathology Australia National Conference - Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 27 May 201830 May 2018


ConferenceINSPIRE 2018 Adelaide


  • Mealtimes
  • residential aged care facilities
  • improving food intake


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