A self-completed nutrition screening tool for community-dwelling older adults with high reliability: a comparison study

M B Huhmann, V Perez, D D Alexander, D R Thomas
Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging 2013, 17 (4): 339-44

OBJECTIVES: Malnutrition is common in community-dwelling older adults and is associated with poor outcomes including hospitalization and mortality. Recently, a 6-question short form mini nutritional assessment (SF-MNA) was validated for rapid nutrition screening. Ideally, nutrition screening could be performed by individuals or their caregivers prior to or during an outpatient clinical visit, thus allowing for the ongoing monitoring of nutritional status among older adults.

DESIGN: We compared the SF-MNA administered by a healthcare professional (HCP) to a 6-item self-administered screening tool (Self-MNA) in 463 community dwelling older adults who gave informed consent. The population was 60% women with a mean age of 76.8±6.8 years. The HCP was blinded to the results of the Self-MNA questionnaire.

RESULTS: Using the SF-MNA, 27% of subjects were malnourished, 38% were at risk, and 35% had normal nutrition status. The agreement between the Self-MNA and the SF-MNA was 99% (Self-MNA sensitivity 99%, specificity 98%, false negative rate 1%, false positive rate 2%) for identifying Malnourished subjects and 83% (sensitivity 89%, specificity 77%, false negative rate 11%, false positive rate 23%) for identifying At Risk of Malnutrition compared to the MNA-SF administered by a HCP.

CONCLUSION: We found that the Self-MNA demonstrates sufficient inter-rater reliability for use in nutrition screening among community-dwelling older adults. Further validation studies and the possible impact of language translation should be pursued.

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