National study of the nutritional status of Korean older adults with dementia who are living in long-term care settings

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Abstract

Aim

To evaluate the nutritional status of older adults with dementia who were living in long-term care settings.

Methods

As a secondary analysis, this study used the data from the Nationwide Survey on Dementia Care in Korea that was conducted between December 1, 2010, and August 31, 2011, which surveyed 3472 older adults with dementia, aged ≥60 years (mean age: 81.24 years), who were residing in 248 randomly selected long-term care settings in South Korea. Twenty-three different variables that related to the participants' demographics, diseases, and functional and nutritional characteristics were selected. The nutritional status was assessed by using the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA). Descriptive statistics, an ANOVA, and a chi-squared test were used to analyze the data.

Results

The mean MNA score of the participants was 17.90. The malnutrition rate was 38.4% (n = 1333), with 54.7% (n = 1900) of the participants at risk for malnutrition. The largest population with malnutrition resided in long-term care hospitals (47.9%), followed by nursing homes (34.1%), and group homes (25.9%). Being older and female, while exhibiting higher cognitive impairment, more neuropsychiatric symptoms, higher functional dependency, and a higher number of disabilities, were associated with poor nutritional status.

Conclusion

The nutritional status of older adults with dementia who were living in long-term care settings in South Korea was poor and associated with multiple factors. Paying special attention to recognizing, assessing, preventing, and treating malnutrition in this population is necessary.

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