Nutrition and its Relation to Mealtime Preparation, Eating, Fatigue and Mood Among Stroke Survivors After Discharge from Hospital - A Pilot Study



Albert Westergren1, *
1 Research and Development Unit, Central Hospital Kristianstad, Northeast Skåne Health Care District; The Department of Health Sciences, Kristianstad University, Kristianstad, Sweden


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2008 Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/), which permits unrestrictive use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Research and Development Unit & Kristianstad University, Central Hospital, SE-291 85 Kristianstad, Sweden; E-mail: albert.g.westergren@skane.se


Abstract

Eating difficulties and nutritional deficits are common among persons with acute stroke and during rehabilitation. Little is known about such problems after discharge from hospital. In addition the relationship between fatigue and nutritional status among stroke survivors living in the community remains to be explored. The aim of this pilot study was to describe mealtime preparation, eating, fatigue, mood and nutritional status among persons with stroke six months after discharge from hospital and to explore associations between these factors. Patients were interviewed six months post-stroke. Standardised questions and methods were used. The mean age of the 89 respondents was 77.2 (SD 6.6) years, 44 were women and 45 men. Difficulties with swallowing, ingestion and energy to eat occurred among 27%, 20% and 7% respectively. Difficulties with cooking and buying food occurred among 57% and 56% respectively and 41% were at nutritional risk. Feeling full of energy less than some of the time was experienced by 61% while 15% had felt gloomy and sad at least some of the time during the previous four weeks. Considering activities of daily living (ADL), having a less favourable nutritional status was significantly predicted by difficulties with buying food, difficulties with ingestion and being a woman. Considering psychological state (mood and energy), having a less favourable nutritional status was significantly predicted by a lack of energy and high age. This study supports the occurrence of a nutritionally related fatigue by means of “lack of energy”. The associations between poor nutritional status and fatigue can work in both directions. Thus persons with fatigue are more prone to have poor nutritional status and those with poor nutritional status are at greater risk of fatigue. Besides fatigue also difficulties with buying food and ingestion are associated with nutritional risk. As nutritional deficits occur a long time after stroke onset it is important to assess aspects of mealtime preparation and the eating process and when necessary provide food delivery service and eating assistance in order to prevent a vicious circle of undernourishment and fatigue to develop.

Keywords: Fatigue, mood, mealtime preparation, eating, nutrition, stroke.