Degree Name

Master of Science


Changes in the living conditions of people with developmental disabilities, from institutions to group homes, has meant a shift of responsibility for nutrition care. Within the Waningah Area, the high dependence of residents, and hence their reliance on staff members being educated and knowledgeable regarding their needs, raises doubts over the quality of nutrition care being delivered. The purpose of this study was to deterinine the nutrition knowledge of staff of group homes, and whether nutrition education for staff in group homes is required. Seventy per cent of an estimated 205 staff returned questionnaires for analysis. Eighty-three per cent of staff received a low-unacceptably low nutrition quiz score, and 90 per cent reported needing more nutrition knowledge. Nutrition questions were categorised into (i) basic nutrition knowledge and (ii) application of nutrition knowledge. Eighty-one per cent of staff achieved a higher median score in those questions relating to basic nutrition knowledge than in those questions relating to the application of nutrition knowledge (S=116, n=143, p=0.01). This research found that there is a demonstrable need for staff training in nutrition, in particular, the application of nutrition knowledge to the specific needs of people with developmental disabilities for whom they cai'e. Training is not beneficial if it cannot be applied and reinforced in the work environment.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.