Kyla Bacon

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Health Sciences

Committee Member

George Liepa Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Carbone Ph.D., R.D.

Committee Member

Mary Anne Gorman Ph.D., R.D., L.D., FADA


Background: While nursing homes in Oklahoma are required to utilize a Registered Dietitian (RD) or Qualified Nutritionist, there are no specifications for minimum utilization. Objectives: Investigate how Oklahoma nursing homes determine RD utilization and whether a relationship exists between resident census and RD availability. Design: Questionnaires focused on RD work patterns were sent to 150 Oklahoma nursing homes.

Results: Nursing homes with a resident census of 50, 51-100, and 101 employed a RD for approximately 7. 9, 7.3, and 56.3 hours/month, respectively. The RD is the primary decision maker in determining hours worked, followed closely by corporate staff and governmental guidelines. A minority of nursing homes take into account patient medical status when considering RD utilization.

Conclusions: A direct relationship exists between resident census and RD utilization. The RD plays an influential role in determining monthly RD utilization. Patient medical status should play a larger role in determining RD availability.


Additional committee member: Annemarie Richmond Ph.D., R.D., L.D.