Nutritional Intervention in Elderly People Admitted to Resident Homes
Abstract: The aim was to investigate the effects of an intervention, based on education given to staff and implementation of an individualized nutritional programme given to the residents, to compare assessments on admission with a previous study, and to perform diagnostic test and inter-rater reliability of the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA). A further aim was to identify and describe factors with regard to appetite among the residents.Upon admission, and after a four month intervention period, residents were classified as being either protein energy malnourished (PEM), or not, based on anthropometry and biochemical measurements. On both occasions, the Activity Index and the Mini Mental State Examination were used. In order to identify individuals in need of nutritional care, the MNA was performed. Information about medical data was obtained. A total of 127 residents were consecutively admitted to eight resident homes in a municipality in Sweden. Three resident homes constituted the experimental unit (n = 68) and five the control unit (n = 59). Fifteen residents were interviewed using a qualitative method, to investigate what affects their appetite.On admission 32 % of the residents were classified as PEM, which was similar to in the previous study. A higher frequency of residents in the present study had severe medical diseases and cognitive impairment, compared with the previous study, indicating changed admission criteria in the present study.Between the experimental and the control groups, no differences were seen in any specific anthropometric or biochemical variable. Within the groups, statistically significant differences were seen, as the number of PEM residents in the experimental group decreased, and motor activity and overall cognitive function improved. In the control group, motor activity deteriorated. This indicates that the intervention improved nutritional status and functional capacity in the residents.Diagnostic sensitivity was 73 % regarding MNA versus PEM, and 89 % regarding MNA short form (MNA-SF) versus MNA, which indicates a rather high degree of sensitivity in both tests. Inter-rater reliability of MNA, carried out by simultaneous assessments by registered nurses and researcher showed a moderate agreement of 62 % (kappa 0.41).The interview study showed that the willingness to eat was what affected the residents´ appetite. The willingness to eat contains internal factors, dependent on mood and personal values, as well as external factors, dependent on wholesomeness, food, eating environment and meal fellowship. When planning and realizing residents´ nutritional care, factors affecting the residents´ appetite have to be taken into consideration.In conclusion, the results show that it is important to implement and develop strategies for individual nutritional care, in order to prevent and treat malnutrition in elderly people, which is in line with recommendations given by the European Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ESPEN) and with the Swedish goal of nursing actions.
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