Malnutrition and associated factors in elderly hospital patients: a Belgian cross-sectional, multi-centre study.

Nursing Science, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium.
Clinical nutrition (Edinburgh, Scotland) (Impact Factor: 3.27). 08/2010; 29(4):469-76. DOI: 10.1016/j.clnu.2009.12.013
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In Belgium, general data on the prevalence of malnutrition are lacking. Prevalence rates are necessary to gain insight into the magnitude of malnutrition and to establish a nutrition policy that takes the limited health care resources into account. This study aimed to obtain insight into the prevalence of malnutrition in Belgian elderly hospital wards and to identify factors associated with the malnutrition prevalence.
A cross-sectional, multi-centre study in elderly wards of Belgian hospitals. The nutritional status was assessed using the Mini Nutritional Assessment. A standardised questionnaire was used to record demographic data and data on potential factors associated with malnutrition.
Out of 2329 elderly patients, 33% suffered from malnutrition. Almost 43% of the patients were at risk of malnutrition and 24% were well-nourished. Having swallowing difficulties, taste difficulties, and being transferred from a nursing home were strongly associated with being malnourished.
The malnutrition prevalence in Belgian elderly hospitals wards is similar to international figures. Elderly who have swallowing difficulties, taste difficulties, or coming from a nursing home may need adequate nutritional care. Given the negative impact of malnutrition on mortality and morbidity, an emphasis should be placed on an effective nutritional policy.

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