240385 Considering Home Health Care Providers and Nurses as Partners in the Prevention of Foodborne Illnesses among Older Adults

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Kelly Wohlgenant, MS , RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Sheryl C. Cates, BA , RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Sandria L. Godwin, PhD, RD , School of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN
Leslie D. Speller-Henderson, MS , School of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN
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 and 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.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Communication and informatics
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
1.Identify which specific types of health care providers would be most receptive to partner with older adults and their caregivers in the prevention of foodborne illnesses. 2.Describe health care providersí knowledge gaps regarding the recommended food safety practices. 3.Discuss potential methods for disseminating food safety information to receptive groups.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified because I am a Policy Analyst in RTI Internationalís Food and Agricultural Policy Research Program. I have experience working on many research studies that aim to help protect at-risk populations from foodborne illnesses.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.