From hospital to home: Limited nutritional and functional recovery for older adults
Date of this Version
Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital and The Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation (grant number: SG0009-000407)
The post-hospital period may be a vulnerable time for elders recovering from acute illness. Few studies have examined nutrition outcomes of older people at nutrition risk after acute hospitalisation.
This study aims to describe a) standard nutrition care received by recently discharged older medical patients, b) change in nutritional and functional status at six weeks post-discharge and c) clinical outcomes at twelve weeks post discharge.
Prospective cohort study.
Two metropolitan teaching hospitals in Brisbane, Australia.
Medical patients aged ≥65 years at risk of malnutrition (Malnutrition Screening Score ≥2) and discharged to independent living in the community.
Nutritional status (Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA), weight, lean body mass), functional status (grip strength, walk speed, activities of daily living) and health-related quality of life assessed on discharge and six weeks post-discharge. Inpatient and post-discharge nutrition intervention was recorded. Death and unplanned admissions were measured at 12 weeks.
Of the 42 consented participants, only 14% (n=6) received post-discharge dietitian review and 19% (n=8) received practical nutrition supports at home (meal delivery, shopping assistance) as part of standard care. While there was a small improvement in MNA (18.4±4.0 to 20.1±4.2, p=0.004) and walk speed (0.7±0.3 m/s to 0.9±0.3, p=0.004) at six weeks, there was no difference in mean weight, lean body mass, grip strength or activities of daily living. Five (15%) participants lost ≥5% body weight. By twelve weeks, 17 participants (46%) had at least one unplanned hospital admission and four (10%) had died.
Few patients at nutrition risk received nutrition-focused care in the post-hospital period, and most did not improve nutritional or functional status at 6 weeks.
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This document has been peer reviewed.