Development and Feasibility of A Tailored Habit-based Dietary Intervention Coupled With Natural Tooth Replacement On The Nutritional Status Of Older Patients

Leigh-Ann McCrum*, Sinead Watson, Laura McGowan, Bernadette McGuinness, Christopher Cardwell, Mike Clarke, Jayne Woodside, Gerry McKenna

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: Older adults suffering partial tooth loss may need additional intervention strategies other than natural tooth replacement alone to improve their nutritional status. This study aimed to design and develop a habit-based tailored dietary intervention and to assess the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention, in conjunction with natural tooth replacement, amongst partially dentate older adults.
Methods: The design and development of the dietary intervention (Phase 1) consisted of analysis of the target population’s dietary intake and qualitative research through focus groups with community-dwelling older adults (aged 65 years and over). The dietary intervention consisted of forming three healthy dietary habits around fruits and vegetables, wholegrains and healthy proteins. Feasibility of the intervention was then tested among older adults who had recently completed dental treatment for natural tooth replacement in a small non-randomised single arm study (Phase 2). The principal feasibility outcome was the usability and acceptability of the intervention which was measured using evaluation questionnaires and by conducting post-intervention semi-structured interviews. Supporting outcomes consisted of feasibility of screening procedures; recruitment strategies; and retention/ attrition rates as well as the participant’s compliance to the intervention assessed through self-monitoring tracking sheets.
Results: Twenty-one older adults (mean [SD] age 72.1 [10.4].) took part in one of four focus group discussions (Phase 1). Twelve themes related to barriers (e.g oral health, appetite) and facilitators (e.g nutritional knowledge, retirement) of healthy eating guided intervention development, as did a further five themes when asked for direct intervention feedback. Nine older adult participants (mean [SD] age 72.5[9.7]) were recruited into the feasibility study (Phase 2) where eight themes were identified from feedback interview discussions. The principal outcome measures identified intervention feasibility as participants considered the intervention acceptable and useable as both the evaluation questionnaire and qualitative interview results were overwhelmingly positive. As a supporting outcome measure, strong intervention compliance was also achieved. Screening procedures were accepted but additional recruitment strategies (e.g incorporation of home study visits or recruitment via posters advertisement) may benefit future study enrolment and retention.
Conclusion: Phase 1 and Phase 2 findings have allowed for an iterative, user-driven intervention to be developed and refined for a randomised control study to evaluate the intervention’s effectiveness.
Trial registration: ISRCTN66118345
Original languageEnglish
JournalPilot and Feasibility Studies
Early online date24 Aug 2020
Publication statusEarly online date - 24 Aug 2020


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