Background. Action-oriented study circles (AOSC) have been found to improve nutrition in 24 nursing homes in Sweden. Little, however, is known about the conceptual use of knowledge (changes in staffs’ knowledge and behaviours). Methods. Qualitative and quantitative methods, structured questionnaires for valuating participants’ (working in nursing homes) experiences from study circles (n = 592, 71 AOSC) and for comparisons between AOSC participants (n = 74) and nonparticipants (n = 115). Finally, a focus group interview was conducted with AOSC participants (in total n = 12). Statistical, conventional, and directed content analyses were used.
Results. Participants experienced a statistically significant increase in their knowledge about eating and nutrition, when retrospectively comparing before participating and after, as well as in comparison to non-participants, and they felt that the management was engaged in and took care of ideas regarding food and mealtimes to a significantly greater extent than non-participants. The use of AOSC was successful judging from how staff members had changed their attitudes and behaviours toward feeding residents.
Conclusions. AOSC facilitates professional development, better system performance, and, as shown in previous studies, better patient outcome. Based on a collaborative learning perspective, AOSC manages to integrate evidence, context, and facilitation in the efforts to achieve knowledge translation in a learning organisation. This study has implications also for other care settings implementing AOSC.
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