Taste ability in hospitalised older people compared with healthy, age-matched controls
Article first published online: 11 SEP 2012
© 2012 John Wiley & Sons A/S and The Gerodontology Association. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Volume 31, Issue 1, pages 42–48, March 2014
How to Cite
doi: 10.1111/ger.12001 Taste ability in hospitalised older people compared with healthy, age-matched controls
- Issue published online: 10 FEB 2014
- Article first published online: 11 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 3 AUG 2012
- taste ability;
- taste strips;
- hospitalized older people;
To investigate whether taste ability is reduced in acutely hospitalised older people compared with healthy, age-matched, non- hospitalised controls.
Proper gustatory function in older people is important for quality of life and enjoyment of food. Impaired taste may contribute to weight loss in elderly.
Material and Methods
Cross- sectional study. The participants comprised two groups with age ≥ 70 years. Older people hospitalised for acute disease, home-living prior to hospital admission and with adequate cognitive function (n = 174 with mean age = 84 years). The controls (n = 63, mean age 82 years) were home-living, and healthy by their own judgement. Whole mouth gustatory function was assessed with taste strips impregnated with sweet, sour, bitter and salty taste solutions in four different concentrations each. Correct identifications were summarized, and maximum total score was 16.
Total taste score was reduced in the hospitalised group compared with the control group (p = 0.035). The difference was mainly due to reduced ability to detect sour and bitter taste qualities (p < 0.001 and p = 0.003).
Acutely hospitalised older people had significantly reduced taste ability compared with non-hospitalised controls. Sour and bitter taste qualities were mostly affected. Hospital staff should pay attention to these findings when preparing food for hospitalised older people.