Background & aims
Eating difficulties, having a poor nutritional status, and low activity of daily living are all prevalent issues in the geriatric population. The aim of this study was to explore associations between patients' eating difficulties, their nutritional status and their activity of daily living in patients aged 60 years or older who were admitted to an acute geriatric unit.
A cross-sectional study was conducted between March and September 2016 at the geriatric department of North Denmark Regional Hospital, Hjørring. The inclusion criteria were: ≥ 60years old and hospitalized for a minimum of 24 h. The patients' eating difficulties were assessed using the Minimal Eating Observational Form (MEOF-II), including observations related to ingestion, deglutition and energy/appetite. Eating difficulties were determined on the basis of one or more components of the MEOF-II. Poor nutritional status was defined as an age-specific low body mass index (BMI), <20 kg/m2 if < 70 years, or <22 kg/m2 if ≥ 70 years. Activity of daily living was assessed using the Barthel-100 Index and defined as low (<50) or high (≥50).
A total of 297 geriatric patients were included; the mean age was 83.0 (7.7) years and 56.2% of the patients were female. The prevalence of eating difficulties was 55%. Geriatric patients with eating difficulties had a risk increase of 155% of having poor nutritional status (p = 0.003). Geriatric patients with eating difficulties had a risk increase of 60% of having low activity of daily living (p < 0.001).
Eating difficulties were highly prevalent in geriatric patients and were associated with poor nutritional status and reduced activity of daily living. The identification of eating difficulties may be important for nutritional interventions and maintenance or improvement of activities of daily living in the geriatric population
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