Perspectives from Family and health care professionals;: Home-delivered food for Fragile Elderly People

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Perspectives from Family and health care professionals; Home-delivered food for Fragile Elderly People

Lena Bindesbøl Rasmussen, Cand.Cur, Health Science Research Center and Lecture, Nursing department, University College, Vejle, Denmark, corresponding author Tone Elisabeth Bernchou, Cand.scient., Department of Biomedical Laboratory Science and Sr. Lecture,

UCL University College, Odense, Denmark. Pia Gaarde, BD in Nutrition and Health, UCL Business and Technology and Sr. Lecture, UCL University College, Vejle, Denmark. Barbara Voltelen, Ph.D. , Health Sciences Research Center, and Sr. Lecturer, Nursing department, University College, Vejle, Denmark


Home dwelling fragile elderly are at risk of poor nutrition when receiving home delivered meals. A government supported project between stakeholders, aimed to improve meal solutions, see figure 1, for this target group through development and evaluating, in a region of Denmark.


Joint family interviews with 13 fragile elderly participants, (mean age 88 years) and their close relatives and 2 focus group interviews with 9 health care professionals.

Interviews were supported by semi structured interview guides about perceptions toward the meal solutions provided during the project, and more general wishes for future meal solutions. Data underwent thematic analysis within a hermeneutical frame.


Two themes; Individual attention and Beliefs, was the result of the analysis. Both themes were seen in perspectives from the fragile elderly, their family members, and the health care professionals. See figure 2.

Beliefs: In this context was perceptions and actions according to disease and health care phenomena

Individual Attention: In this context a lack of relations, togetherness and attachment during meals.


Beliefs about the aging process, such as physical decay, weight loss and poor tooth status was apparently taboo hence not discussed within the family, or with the health care professionals. Although these perspectives were necessary in meal solution decision making, nobody addressed it. There was a lack of individual attention, and missing relational contact for elderly fragile, who received home delivered meals.


Together families managed to come up with perceptions on meals, the visual and tasteful presence, the texture and the context. Development of meal solutions are dependent on individual attention and cooperation between families, health care professionals and stakeholders in the providing kitchen.

Figure 2. Results thematic analysis.

Home delivered


Individual attention


Beliefs Health

care professi-



As part of a larger participatory design, this presents study aimed to qualitatively illuminate meal experiences from fragile elderly, their family and health care professionals.




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