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The journal of nutrition, health & aging

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 367–372 | Cite as

Cost-effectiveness of nutrition interventions in nursing home residents: A pilot intervention

  • Sandra F. Simmons
  • X. Zhuo
  • E. Keeler
Article

Abstract

Objectives

Unintentional weight loss is a prevalent and costly clinical problem among nursing home (NH) residents. One of the most common nutrition interventions for residents at risk for weight loss is oral liquid nutrition supplementation. The purpose of this study was to determine the cost effectiveness of supplements relative to offering residents’ snack foods and fluids between meals to increase caloric intake.

Design

Randomized, controlled trial.

Setting

Three long-term care facilities.

Participants

Sixty-three long-stay residents who had an order for nutrition supplementation.

Intervention

Participants were randomized into one of three groups: (1) usual NH care control; (2) supplement, or (3) between-meal snacks. For groups two and three, trained research staff provided supplements or snacks twice daily between meals, five days per week, for six weeks with assistance and encouragement to promote consumption.

Measurements

Research staff observed residents during and between meals for two days at baseline, weekly, and post six weeks to estimate total daily caloric intake. For both intervention groups, research staff documented residents’ caloric intake between meals from supplements or snack items, refusal rates and the amount of staff time required to provide each intervention.

Results

Both interventions increased between meal caloric intake significantly relative to the control group and required more staff time than usual NH care. The snack intervention was slightly less expensive and more effective than the supplement intervention.

Conclusions

Offering residents a choice among a variety of foods and fluids twice per day may be a more effective nutrition intervention than oral liquid nutrition supplementation.

Key words

Nursing homes weight loss intervention nutrition supplementation 

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Copyright information

© Serdi and Springer Verlag France 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine and Public Health, Center for Quality AgingVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical CenterVA Medical CenterNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.Rand CorporationSanta MonicaUSA
  4. 4.Medical Center North, Center for Quality AgingVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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