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Fast and simple screening for nutritional status in hospitalized, elderly people

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Abstract Background 

Undernutrition has been frequently reported among hospitalized elderly patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the mini nutrition assessment (MNA) and a screening sheet for malnutrition (SSM) by full nutritional assessment (FNA) in elderly people, and to construct a shorter screening method by combining important questions from MNA and SSM. Having a screening tool as fast and simple as possible could increase its use in clinical routines. Methods 

FNA, MNA and SSM were carried out on 60 hospitalized patients (>65 years). Sensitivity and specificity for MNA and SSM were calculated in comparison with FNA. In order to construct a short and simple screening tool, questions from the two screening tools, which differed significantly between mal- and well-nourished patients, were used in a multivariate, stepwise linear regression. The regression model was simplified to be suitable in clinical routines. Results 

Malnourishment was diagnosed by FNA in 58.3% of the elderly patients, with no gender difference. Body mass index, unintended weight loss, recent surgery and loss of appetite were predictors of malnutrition in the regression model (R2 = 60.1%). The sensitivity and specificity of the simplified regression model were 89 and 88%, respectively, which was more precise than MNA (77 and 36%) and SSM (89 and 60%). Conclusion 

According to FNA, malnutrition is frequent in elderly hospitalized patients. Four questions are sufficient to conduct precise nutritional screening for malnutrition in elderly hospitalized patients. This new screening tool should be verified in other samples.
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Keywords: elderly; hospitalized patients; nutritional screening; nutritional status; validation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Unit for Nutrition Research, Landspitali-University Hospital and Department of Food Science, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland 2: Department of Geriatrics, Landspitali-University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland

Publication date: 2005-02-01

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