A nutritional intervention program improves the nutritional status of geriatric patients at nutritional risk—a randomized controlled trial

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Abstract

Objectives:

To investigate the effect of a nutrition intervention program for geriatric nutritional at-risk patients.

Design:

A randomized controlled trial.

Setting:

Department of geriatric medicine in a university hospital and in the primary healthcare sector, Copenhagen.

Subjects:

Geriatric patients (N = 144) at nutritional risk.

Intervention:

The intervention consisted of an individual dietary plan for home, including pre-discharge advice on nutritional intake, combined with three follow-up visits after discharge (one, four, and eight weeks).

Main measures:

Change in body weight, Barthel Index, hand-grip strength and self-rated health from baseline (discharge) to three months after discharge, readmission, and mortality (90 and 120 days).

Results:

The mean (SD) age in total sample was 87.2 (6.2) years. Sample size in the intervention group (IG) was N = 72, and in the control group (CG), N = 72. IG had a mean (SD) weight gain of 0.9 (4.2) kg compared to a weight loss of 0.8 (3.6) kg in the CG (P = 0.032). In addition, an improvement in self-rated health was seen in the IG compared to CG (IG: 23 (47%) vs. CG: 12 (24%); P = 0.021). No significant difference between groups was found in functional status, mortality, or readmission rates.

Conclusion:

An individual dietary plan based on everyday food, combined with three follow-up visits (one, four, and eight weeks) after discharge, led to an improvement in nutritional status and self-rated health in geriatric patients.

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