The capacity of food service providers as nutrition change agents in nursing homes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Despite the correlation between the food provided and nursing home residents’ food satisfaction, Quality of Life and health, the capacity of food service providers to enact positive nutrition-related changes is unknown. Objectives: Researchers explored (1) the experiences and perceptions of senior-level food service providers from nursing homes (NH) to elicit change prompted by participation in a national educational intervention (2) the barriers and enablers to eliciting change and (3) practice implications. Design: Using qualitative methodology, individual semi-structured interviews were conducted four months after the intervention and thematically analyzed. Participants: Participants were 23 senior-level food service providers from 21 NH in Victoria, Australia. Results: Participants started with the necessary confidence, knowledge and skills for food provision and three themes that best represent food service providers’ perceived capacity and experience to affect food service changes included: (1) participants’ motivations as change agents (2) empowerment facilitated by external factors (organizational, external and ongoing peer-support) and (3) constraints to enacting change (local and system-wide). Conclusion: Understanding the motivations and experiences of senior food service providers to enact change provides important information on the barriers and enablers which can be used to augment intervention planning and reduce the implementation gap between evidence-based recommendations and practice. A number of underlying mechanisms were identified and recommendations for system-wide changes made. Improvement in food and dining experiences may help to improve residents’ satisfaction with food which has been correlated with improved life satisfaction, health and well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-26
Number of pages7
JournalThe Journal of Nursing Home Research Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2018


  • Aging
  • food services
  • long-term care
  • nursing homes
  • quality of life.


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