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The journal of nutrition, health & aging

, Volume 21, Issue 7, pp 830–836 | Cite as

Malnutrition in hospitalised older adults: A multicentre observational study of prevalence, associations and outcomes

  • Emma O’SheaEmail author
  • S. Trawley
  • E. Manning
  • A. Barrett
  • V. Browne
  • S. Timmons
Article

Abstract

Background

Malnutrition is common in older adults and is associated with high costs and adverse outcomes. The prevalence, predictors and outcomes of malnutrition on admission to hospital are not clear for this population.

Design

Prospective Cohort Study.

Setting

Six hospital sites (five public, one private).

Participants

In total, 606 older adults aged 70+ were included. All elective and acute admissions to any speciality were eligible. Day-case admissions and those moribund on admission were excluded.

Measurements

Sociodemographic and clinical data, including nutritional status (Mini-Nutritional Assessment–short form), was collected within 36 hours of admission. Outcome data was collected prospectively on length of stay, in-hospital mortality and new institutionalisation.

Results

The mean age was 79.7; 51% were female; 29% were elective admissions; 67% were admitted to a medical specialty. Nutrition scores were available for 602/606; 37% had a ‘normal’ status, 45% were ‘at-risk’, and 18% were ‘malnourished’. Malnutrition was more common in females, acute admissions, older patients and those who were widowed/separated. Dementia, functional dependency, comorbidity and frailty independently predicted a) malnutrition and b) being at-risk of malnutrition, compared to normal status (p <.001). Malnutrition was associated with outcomes including an increased length of stay (p <.001), new institutionalisation (p =<0.001) and in-hospital mortality (p <.001).

Conclusions

These findings support the prioritisation of nutritional screening in clinical practice and public health policy, for all patients ≥70 on admission to hospital, and in particular for people with dementia, increased functional dependency and/or multi-morbidity, and those who are frail.

Keywords

Malnutrition epidemiology hospitals risk factors screening 

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Copyright information

© Serdi and Springer-Verlag France 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emma O’Shea
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. Trawley
    • 2
  • E. Manning
    • 1
  • A. Barrett
    • 1
  • V. Browne
    • 1
  • S. Timmons
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Gerontology and Rehabilitation, School of MedicineUniversity College CorkCorkIreland
  2. 2.Centre for Health and Social ResearchAustralian Catholic UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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