Nutritional status of care-dependent people with dementia in shared-housing arrangements – a one-year follow-up

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Abstract

Background:

Malnutrition in the elderly is an important nursing challenge. Persons with dementia disease are often affected by malnutrition. During recent years, shared-housing arrangements (SHA) for older care-dependent people, frequently with dementia disease, have evolved in Germany. SHA can be an alternative to traditional residential care in nursing homes. The prevalence of malnutrition in SHA is compared to the prevalence in community dwellings and lower than the prevalence of malnutrition in nursing homes. There are no scientific data about the development of the nutritional status of older care-dependent people in SHA over one year. The aim of this study is to describe the nutritional status of care-dependent people with dementia disease living in SHA and to investigate changes over a period of one year.

Method:

A longitudinal study with a one-year follow-up was performed. Standardised interviews with nurses were conducted concerning nutritional status (Mini Nutritional Assessment – MNA), cognitive capacities (Mini Mental State Examination – MMSE), activities of daily living (Extended Barthel-Index – EBI) and socio-demographic characteristics. Nutritional data were available for 45 residents at baseline and 36 residents at follow-up.

Results:

At baseline, 45 residents with an average age of 78.4 years living in SHA in the state of Berlin, Germany, were included in the study. Predominantly, residents were female (73.3%) and diagnosed with dementia (88.9%), with a moderate to severe cognitive impairment (MMSE: 10.8) and low daily living abilities (EBI: 33.7). Most residents (80.6%) have a risk of malnutrition regarding the MNA. The average MNA score did decline slightly within one year (t0 = 20.8 vs. t1 = 19.7).

Conclusion:

Regular screenings for malnutrition using validated standardised assessments, which are easy to apply, should be implemented in SHA to avoid nutritional and health-related problems arising from malnutrition. Flexible structures for care, as in SHA, can facilitate coping with nutritional problems.

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