Assessment of the nutritional situation of elderly nursing home residents in Vienna

D Kulnik, I Elmadfa
Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism 2008, 52 Suppl 1: 51-3

BACKGROUND: In Austria, reliable information about the nutritional situation of institutionalized, frail elderly is lacking.

METHODS: MNA (Mini Nutritional Assessment) and NuRAS (Nutritional Risk Assessment Scale), tools specifically developed to evaluate the nutritional status of the elderly, were used for the assessment of the general nutritional and health status of the residents. Individual intake of energy and nutrients was measured by using the weighed food intake method during 7 consecutive weekdays.

RESULTS: According to MNA results (n = 245), 13.9% had a satisfactory nutritional status, 48.3% were assessed as 'at risk of malnutrition', and 37.8% as being 'malnourished'. There is evidence that the number of assessed nutritional risk factors has an impact on the nutritional status. Further, there is a link between the assessed nutritional status and the individual nutrient intake of the residents.

CONCLUSION: There is evidence for nutritional problems in frail, institutionalized elderly nursing home residents. The MNA seems to be a reliable tool to identify individuals at risk for malnutrition. Strategies for effective nutritional intervention should be implemented in long-term care facilities for the elderly in order to prevent and treat malnutrition and to ensure high-quality care.

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