Assessment of Nutritional Status in Hospitalized Older Patients, and Association with Functional and other Outcomes

Author(s): Anshu Sami, Danielle Ni Chroinin

Background: Malnutrition may be associated with poor functional and clinical outcomes, but may be unrecognized. We sought to evaluate assessment of malnutrition and explore its relationship with functional and other outcomes in older in-patients.

Methods: We selected a random sample of 200 patients admitted under geriatric medicine in a tertiary hospital, and excluded those for whom medical records were unavailable. We assessed the use of the Malnutrition Screening Tool (MST), diagnosis of malnutrition, and their association with dependence in personal activities of daily living (PADL) at discharge (primary outcome) and other patient outcomes.

Results: In total, 188 patients were included. Over half (57.6%) were at risk of being malnourished per MST assessment (MST ≥2). Only 42.42% (42/99) underwent formal dietetic assessment; 73.81% were identified as malnourished (50% severely so), and this was commoner in males (OR 6.25, CI 1.15-33.33, p=0.03). Nutritional status was not associated with outcomes assessed.

Conclusions: Many patients at risk of malnutrition were sub-optimally assessed. Male sex was associated with malnutrition, but malnutrition was not associated with assessed outcomes. Further studies exploring malnutrition and clinical outcomes in hospital, are warranted.

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