Stroke patients in nursing homes: eating, feeding, nutrition and related care


Suzanne Kumlien, Department of Nursing, Karolinska Institutet, Box 286, S-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden (e-mail:


• The purpose of this study was to explore eating, feeding and nutrition among stroke patients in nursing homes as described by their nurses and by assessments.

• Registered Nurses were interviewed about an individual stroke patient's state of health, care needs and nursing care received and nursing records were reviewed. Information on eating, feeding and nutrition was extracted from the interviews and nursing records. A comprehensive instrument, the Resident Assessment Instrument, was also used to assess these patients' state of health. The domains of eating, feeding and nutrition were focused on in this study. Manifest content analysis was used.

• The results showed that more than 80% of the stroke patients in nursing homes were assessed as having some sort of dependence in eating. According to the Registered Nurses, 22 out of 40 patients demonstrated different eating disabilities. The number of eating disabilities in individual patients ranged from 1 to 7, which emphasized the complexity of eating disabilities in stroke patients. Dysphagia was reported in almost one-fourth of the patients and 30% were described and/or assessed as having a poor food intake or poor appetite. The Registered Nurses' descriptions of the eating disabilities, nutritional problems and their care were often vague and unspecific. Only six weights were documented in the nursing records and there were no nutritional records.

• The findings highlight the importance of making careful observations and assessments, and of maintaining documentation about eating and nutrition early after a patient's arrival in the nursing home to enable appropriate care and promotion of health.