The impact of family visitation on feeding assistance quality in nursing homes.


The purpose of this study was to determine: (a) the frequency of family visitation during mealtime and (b) whether the presence of family during meals had an impact on the quality of feeding assistance care and resident intake. Participants included 74 nursing home residents from two Veterans Affairs (VA) and four community facilities in one geographic region. Mealtime periods in which family was present were compared with mealtime periods when family was not present for the same resident. Results showed that family visitation was infrequent during mealtime; however, feeding assistance time was significantly higher when visitors were present. Despite the increase in assistance time, there was not a significant difference in intake. Strategies that encourage the involvement of family in mealtime assistance may have additional benefits not directly associated with meal consumption, including providing family members with meaningful activity during a visit and enhancing residents' quality of life and well-being.