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Keywords:

  • malnutrition;
  • nutrition screening;
  • nutritional status

Abstract

Aims

This study aimed to determine if nutritional status as assessed by the revised Mini Nutritional Assessment—Short Form is predictive of relevant clinical outcomes within six months in older rehabilitation patients, and to investigate the relationship between admission diagnosis and nutritional status.

Methods

A consecutive retrospective case note audit of 181 patients ≥ 65 years admitted to rehabilitation between May and November 2010 at the Repatriation General Hospital was performed. Nutritional status was assessed using the revised Mini Nutritional Assessment—Short Form. Outcomes measured included length of stay in rehabilitation, complications during admission, participation in rehabilitation activities and change in function during admission. Acute readmissions and mortality were assessed at six months post discharge from rehabilitation.

Results

Thirty-nine (22%) patients had normal nutritional status, 98 (54%) were at risk of malnutrition and 43 (24%) were malnourished. Patients at risk of malnutrition/malnourished had a longer length of stay (P = 0.008) and were more likely to be poor participators in rehabilitation activities (P = 0.006). Malnourished patients had poor function on admission to rehabilitation (P < 0.001) and had the greatest improvement in function during the rehabilitation admission (P = 0.012).

Conclusions

Over three-quarters of older rehabilitation patients were identified as malnourished or at risk of malnutrition, and this was associated with poorer function on admission, increased length of stay and poorer participation in rehabilitation activities. Thus, the issue of malnutrition is a concern as it impacts on clinical outcomes of rehabilitation and therefore, further investigation and attention to nutritional status during admission is required.