The meaning of food to nursing home residents is explored to examine residents' perspectives related to nursing home food and food service, and to identify strategies for improving food and food service in nursing homes. An interpretive phenomenological approach was used to uncover meaning in a series of "tell me a story" interviews about food and food service with nine residents from an eastern Washington nursing home. Analysis revealed 14 domains of meaning, each containing multiple codes with specific descriptions and exemplars of resident expression about food service. Themes that cut across these codes were generated and further organized into three rubrics. They were: Mimicking Home, Making Choices, and Tailoring the System. Specific information found under these three rubrics can be used as a blue print for quality improvement interventions implemented by nursing home staff and management, thereby improving quality of life for nursing home residents.
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