The quality of feeding assistance care practices for long-term care veterans: implications for quality improvement efforts.


The primary purpose of this study was to determine the quality of feeding assistance care and identify areas in need of improvement for a sample of long-term care veterans. A secondary purpose was to compare these findings with the results of previous studies in community facilities to determine ways in which the VA sample might differ. A repeated measures observational study was conducted in two VA facilities with 200 long-stay residents. Research staff conducted standardized observations during and between meals for 3 months. There was a trend for better feeding assistance care quality during meals in the VA sample, but there were still multiple aspects of care in need of improvement both during and between meals. Higher licensed nurse staffing levels in the VA should enable effective supervision and management, but observation-based measures of care quality are necessary for accurate information about daily feeding assistance care provision.