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How do we provide good mealtime care for people with dementia living in care homes? A systematic review of carer–resident interactions

Lookup NU author(s): James Faraday, Dr Clare Abley, Fiona Beyer, Professor Catherine Exley



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© The Author(s) 2021.People with dementia who live in care homes often depend on care home staff for help with eating and drinking. It is essential that care home staff have the skills and support they need to provide good care at mealtimes. Good mealtime care may improve quality of life for residents, and reduce hospital admissions. The aim of this systematic review was to identify good practice in mealtime care for people with dementia living in care homes, by focusing on carer-resident interactions at mealtimes. Robust systematic review methods were followed. Seven databases were searched: AgeLine, BNI, CENTRAL, CINAHL, MEDLINE, PsycINFO and Web of Science. Titles, abstracts, and full texts were screened independently by two reviewers, and study quality was assessed with Joanna Briggs Institute tools. Narrative synthesis was used to analyse quantitative and qualitative evidence in parallel. Data were interrogated to identify thematic categories of carer-resident interaction. The synthesis process was undertaken by one reviewer, and discussed throughout with other reviewers for cross-checking. After title/abstract and full-text screening, 18 studies were included. Some studies assessed mealtime care interventions, others investigated factors contributing to oral intake, whilst others explored the mealtime experience. The synthesis identified four categories of carer-resident interaction important to mealtime care: Social connection, Tailored care, Empowering the resident, and Responding to food refusal. Each of the categories has echoes in related literature, and provides promising directions for future research. They merit further consideration, as new interventions are developed to improve mealtime care for this population.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Faraday J, Abley C, Beyer F, Exley C, Moynihan P, Patterson JM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Dementia

Year: 2021

Volume: 20

Issue: 8

Pages: 3006-3031

Online publication date: 07/04/2021

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

Date deposited: 19/10/2023

ISSN (print): 1471-3012

ISSN (electronic): 1741-2684

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd


DOI: 10.1177/14713012211002041


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Funder referenceFunder name
Health Education England (HEE)
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)