Failure to thrive in elderly people: a conceptual analysis


Dr V.B. Newbern, Associate Professor and Director, Advanced Gerontological Nursing Project, School of Nursing, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina 27412, USA.


The concept ‘failure to thrive’ (FTT) has been in the pediatric and child development/child psychiatry literature for many years. Recently it has appeared in the medical literature in relation to malnutrition, weight loss and depression. This paper draws upon the wider concept as applied to infants and young children, as well as on relevant gerontological literature, to analyse FTT as it relates to elderly people. Attributes, antecedents and consequences are identified. Case studies that illustrate the attributes, some of the attributes, or none of the attributes are provided.