Debbie ten Cate is a nurse, hbo lecturer and PhD candidate. She has been working as a PhD candidate in the Research group Proactive care for elderly people living at home since November 2014. Her doctoral study is entitled “A learning intervention for nurses and nursing assistants about nutritional care for older adults at home and in hospital”.
Malnutrition is a frequent and major problem in older adults and the prevalence ranges from 0% to 51% in community-dwelling older adults and from 3.1% to 51% in hospitalized older adults. Malnutrition is associated with negative outcomes such as infections, lower functional status and mortality. In order to prevent malnutrition in these older adults an optimal nutritional status is important. Home care and hospital nurses can make a key contribution to achievement of an optimal nutritional status. However, this contribution is not always visible in daily practice. This may be caused by a lack of knowledge or a neutral of negative attitude regarding nutritional care, or low prioritization given to nutritional care.
In her PhD program, Debbie develops a learning intervention for nurses and nursing assistants about nutritional care for older adults at home and in hospital. In the run-up to the development of the intervention, Debbie analysed the current practice from the perspective of older adults and their informal caregivers, home care and hospital nurses and various professionals working in primary and hospital care. In addition, Debbie conducted a systematic review with the aim to provide an overview of effective interventions to prevent malnutrition in the elderly.
For the development of the learning intervention the guidelines for development and evaluation of complex interventions of the Medical Research Council are followed. The goal of the intervention is that home care and hospital nurses can develop their competencies to eventually provide optimal nutritional care to prevent malnutrition in older adults.
This PhD program is part of the Dutch project “Basic Care Revisited”. A total number of ten intervention studies in nursing basic care are performed to generate scientific evidence to inform nursing practice, because nursing interventions generally still lack scientific evidence.
In addition to the PhD program Debbie is a lecturer at the Bachelor of Nursing. She supervises among others final year students during their internship and graduation project. Also Debbie supervises students from various Bachelor and Master programs who participate in her PhD program during their graduation project. Debbie teaches the course ‘Systematic Literature Review’ at the master program of Clinical Health Sciences of the Utrecht University.
Fields of Expertise
- Nutrition and malnutrition
- Home care and hospital nurses
- Intervention development
- Mixed methods research
- Hospital and home care nurses’ experiences and perceptions regarding nutritional care for older adults to prevent and treat malnutrition: A cross-sectional study
- How can we build and maintain the resilience of our healthcare professionals during COVID-19? Recommendations based on a scoping review
- Older Adults' and Their Informal Caregivers' Experiences and Needs regarding Nutritional Care Provided in the Periods before, during and after Hospitalization: A Qualitative Study