Association between nutritional status (MNA®-SF) and frailty (SHARE-FI) in acute hospitalised elderly patients

T E Dorner, E Luger, J Tschinderle, K V Stein, S Haider, A Kapan, C Lackinger, K E Schindler
Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging 2014, 18 (3): 264-9

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to explore the association between the impaired nutritional status and frailty in acute hospitalised elderly patients by using two tools, the MNA®-SF (Mini Nutritional Assessment® short-form) and the SHARE-FI (Frailty Instrument for Primary Care of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe).

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.

SETTING: Acute hospitalised, community-dwelling elderly patients were recruited at internal medicine wards in Vienna, Austria.

PARTICIPANTS: 133 men (39%) and women (61%) aged 74 (65-97) years.

MEASUREMENTS: MNA®-SF was used to investigate malnutrition (<7 points) and patients at risk of malnutrition (8 to 11 points). By using the SHARE-FI, subjects were classified as frail, pre-frail or robust. A factor analysis was applied to identify overlaps between the MNA®-SF and SHARE-FI items. Internal consistency of different dimensions was assessed by using Cronbach's Alpha.

RESULTS: Malnutrition or risk of malnutrition was found in 76.7% of the total sample and in 46.8% of robust, in 69.0% of pre-frail, and in 93.0% of frail participants. Frailty or prefrailty was found in 75.9% of the total sample and in 45.1% of the subjects with no risk of malnutrition, in 80.9% of subjects at risk of malnutrition, and in 94.1% of malnourished patients. The two used tools show overlaps in three dimensions: (1) nutrition problems, (2) mobility problems and (3) anthropometric items with a moderate to strong internal consistency (Cronbach's Alpha of 0.670, 0.834 and 0.946, respectively). 64.7% of the total sample (79.5% of frail and 87.9% of malnourished subjects) would participate in a home-based muscle training and nutritional intervention program.

CONCLUSIONS: This study underlines the association and the overlap between frailty and impaired nutritional status. There is a high readiness to participate in a program to tackle the problems associated with malnutrition and frailty, especially in those, who would benefit most from it.

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