Importance of DHA in nursing homes
Over the last 25 years, the growth rate among the population aged ≥ 65 has more than doubled that of the total world population and can be expected to exceed 1 billion in the next two decades. The rise in life expectancy has increased the chances of living in conditions of dependency for part of this period of life. In nursing homes, elderly residents who do not require hospitalisation but who cannot be cared for at home receive medical care and physical and occupational therapy. The concept of quality of care in these institutions has grown in importance, yet is broad and can be approached from a variety of perspectives. Classically, quality of care has been assessed on the basis of clinical factors (e.g. number of pressure ulcers, falls, weight-loss, etc.) or organisational factors, but this approach omits important psychosocial aspects (interaction with health staff and carers, among others). Today, quality of care tends to be assessed on the basis of residents’ quality of life.
Among elderly nursing home residents with cognitive impairment, the administration of DHA-enriched foods (1,720 mg of DHA daily for 12 months) provides protection from age-related cognitive impairment and also improves residents’ apathy and carers’ workload. All these aspects clearly improve the quality of life of geriatric residents.
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