Considering Home Health Care Providers and Nurses as Partners in the Prevention of Foodborne Illnesses Among Older Adults
Wohlgenant, K. C., Cates, S., Godwin, S., & Speller-Henderson, L. (2011, October). Considering Home Health Care Providers and Nurses as Partners in the Prevention of Foodborne Illnesses Among Older Adults. Presented at APHA 2011, Washington, DC.
Introduction: As the largest segment of the U.S. population is aging, the fact that older adults are at an increased risk for contracting and developing serious complications to foodborne illnesses compared to other age groups becomes an increasingly important public health issue. Research indicates that older adults may not be following the recommended food safety practices, and that older adults would prefer to learn about foodborne illness prevention from their health care providers.
Methods: Conducted six tele-focus groups comprised of the following health care providers: 1) physicians; 2) nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses and; 3) home health care providers. Participants were required to provide care to patients aged 60 or older.
Results/Conclusions: The home health care provider, registered nurse, and nurse practitioner participants often provide patient care and education as part of their job, thus they are receptive to integrating information on foodborne illness prevention with other preventative health care. On the contrary, the physician and physician assistant participants viewed their role as diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, and thus were less receptive. Public health officials should partner with home health care providers, registered nurses, and nurse practitioners to help educate older adults about foodborne illness prevention. Health care providers typically lacked knowledge of the recommended food safety practices, so it is important to equip them with science-based information, to disseminate to their patients.