Nurses knowledge and attitudes regarding nutrition in the elderly

J Nutr Health Aging. 2009 Jun;13(6):485-9. doi: 10.1007/s12603-009-0098-6.


Background/aims: Nurses in the community are in contact with the elderly at different levels of care. The aim of this study was to assess nurses' knowledge and attitudes regarding nutritional-care for the elderly, and the impact of their attitude on the quality of assessment-care they provide to this growing population in need of nutritional-care.

Methods: A structured questionnaire was distributed by mail to 600 nurses working in Maccabi-Health-Care-Services (MHS). The questionnaire assessed different aspects of elderly nutrition.

Results: The vast majority (91%) of the participants reported treating elderly in their practice. Religious nurses and the nurses with an individual orientation specialty reported more positive attitudes about nutritional-care for the elderly than others did (p=0.05). Nurses with a bachelor's degree had better attitudes than registered nurses about the importance of nutrition for the elderly (p < 0.01). Younger nurses were found to be more knowledgeable than older ones (p < 0.04). The nurses perceived nutrition as influencing different health conditions, and 85% pointed to the importance of feeding at the end of life.

Conclusions: Nurses working in the community recognize the impact of proper nutrition on elderly patients' health, but need more training in screening for nutritional problems in the elderly.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence / standards
  • Clinical Competence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Data Collection
  • Humans
  • Israel
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nurses / standards*
  • Nutritional Sciences*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult