Are we wasting our money on food supplements in elder care wards?
Article first published online: 14 JUL 2003
Journal of Advanced Nursing
Volume 43, Issue 3, pages 275–280, August 2003
How to Cite
Gosney, M. (2003), Are we wasting our money on food supplements in elder care wards?. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 43: 275–280. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.2003.02710.x
- Issue published online: 14 JUL 2003
- Article first published online: 14 JUL 2003
- Submitted for publication 27 June 2002 Accepted for publication 25 February 2003
- older people;
- sip feeds;
- food supplements
Background. It is reported that undernutrition in older hospitalized patients is commonly found, but estimates of its prevalence vary. It is also not clear which treatment approaches are best because poor methodology prevents comparison of outcomes between different studies.
Rationale. The rationale of this observational study was to look at typical elder care wards in order to determine what food supplements were being prescribed. We wished to determine whether serum albumin and/or body mass index (BMI) were appropriately related to the prescription of sip feeds and also to determine the palatability of supplements provided.
Method. We monitored the wastage of sip feeds over a 24-hour period and extrapolated an estimated cost. Ninety-six patients were studied, including 23 patients with a BMI of less than 20, of whom 30% were on supplementary feeds.
Results. Seventy percentage of prescribed sip feeds were being given to people with a BMI of 20 or more. The mean wastage in this 24-hour period was 63% (£79·56) in four wards containing 96 older patients.
Conclusion. We concluded that there was no relationship between the numbers of patients with a low albumin and BMI and the prescription of sip feeds. We found compliance to be low (37%) because of poor palatability, with a large number of patients who appeared to require sip feeds not being prescribed them and those who received them wasting more than they drank.