Saturday, 24 March 2018

The persistent problems of weight loss and nutrition for older people in nursing homes

Roger Watson, Editor

The problems of weight loss and poor nutrition for older people in nursing homes - especially those with dementia - persists and research into these phenomena continues as shown by two recent articles in Nursing Open, one from Slovakia by Harsányiová & Prokop, and the other from Sweden by Backlund et al. (2018). The Slovakian study is titled: 'Living condition, weight loss and cognitive decline among patients with dementia' and the Swedish study is titled: 'A registry study of nursing assessments, interventions and evaluations according to nutrition for persons living in municipal residential care homes'.

The aim of the Slovakian study was: 'to investigate cognitive performance and BMI of patients with dementia living in their own homes with family members, nursing homes and alone' and the aim of the Swedish study was: 'to explore planned nursing interventions and evaluations of such interventions, in older people at risk for malnutrition living in municipal residential care homes'. The Slovakian study showed: 'Cognitive decline was significantly faster for patients living in nursing homes and for solitary patients. BMI consistently decreased in the follow-up examination this drop was stronger in patients living alone and in nursing homes' and the Swedish study showed: 'A larger proportion of women were estimated as being at risk for malnutrition compared with men. The three most common prescribed nursing interventions were nutritional treatment, dietary support and weight control; however, interventions were not prescribed for all participants at risk for malnutrition.'

The Slovakian authors concluded: 'Nursing homes and loneliness would seem to be statistically significantly associated with stronger progress in cognitive performance in patients with dementia' and the Swedish authors concluded: 'although interventions in older people at risk for malnutrition are often planned, they are not likely to be evaluated. Not all persons at risk for malnutrition had planned interventions. The current study argues that there is room for quality improvement concerning registration of interventions and evaluating interventions in elderly persons at risk for malnutrition.'

References

Backlund A, Holmbeck O, Kumlien C, Axelsson M (2018) A registry study of nursing assessments, interventions and evaluations according to nutrition for persons living in municipal residential care homes Nursing Open doi: 10.1002/nop2.144

Harsányiová M, Prokop P (2018) Living condition, weight loss and cognitive decline among
patients with dementia Nursing Open doi: 10.1002/nop2.137

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