How the professionals can identify needs for improvement and improve Food Distribution service for the home-living elderly people in Sweden - an action research project

Zada Pajalic, Kirsti Skovdahl, Albert Westergren, Lena Persson


Background: Making changes to municipal social care and service has been found to be challenging to realise and highly multifaceted. The aim of this study was to describe how the professionals can identify needs for improvement and improve Food Distribution (FD) service for the home-living elderly people in Sweden.

Methods: This study is part of a larger project with an action research approach focusing on to municipal FD to older people living in their own home in Sweden. The professionals involved in FD invited the first author to assist them in this process. The study participants were comprised of the following groups: “The Identification focus group” that identified need for improvement of FD (n= 5); “The Action focus group” that planned and choose suitable ‘action’ for improvement (n=5); “The First Evaluation group” (n=4) that evaluated the content of planned improvement and finally “The Second Evaluation group” (n=29) that evaluated the changes following improvement. The data was gathered and analysed by Story Dialogue Method.

Results: The need to update and increase the FD recipient’s knowledge in nutrition by sending them informative letters was found to be an important area to focus on. The information letters (n=1700) were distributed to the all FD recipients in six municipalities in southern Sweden during April 2011. The results were evaluated during May 2011. The overall general estimation was that the content of the letters indicated that this was a suitable method for gaining information to make a nutrition competence update. Following this, “The Action focus group” decided: firstly, to continue preparing and distributing information letters to all FD recipients to be sent out twice a year, and secondly: to make the information letters accessible on the websites of the six municipalities and county councils involved.

Conclusions: This study showed that systematic work inspired by an action research approach with motivated and involved participants can be beneficial and a starting point for the process of change in municipal service and care practice. The major conclusion of the study was that systematic reflection over everyday practice can be the vehicle for the future change of practice. The research process and the findings have implications for nursing, care of the elderly and gerontology.


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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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