Poor nutritional status is widespread among the elderly and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. The aim of this study was to longitudinally describe the nutritional status in elderly people living in nursing homes. Nutritional status was recorded longitudinally in elderly people living in 11 different nursing homes in Sweden. Participants were examined at baseline by specially trained nurses who also assisted with questionnaires and collected data for current medical treatment from patient records. Nutritional status was evaluated at baseline and after 24 months with the mini nutritional assessment (MNA). The study included 318 subjects. The mean age of the participants was 85.0 years (range 65-101). At baseline, 41.6% were well nourished, 40.3% at risk of malnutrition, and 17.7% malnourished according to the MNA. Survival was significantly lower in the malnourished group. After 24 months, almost half of the population had died. The group of participants who survived at 24 months represents a population of better nutritional state, where 10.6% were malnourished at baseline increasing to 24.6% after 24 months. After 24 months, 38.7% of the participants showed a decline in nutritional state. The group with deteriorating MNA scores had higher weight, BMI values, and a higher hospitalization rate. The prevalence of malnutrition in nursing home residents increased over time and it is important to evaluate nutritional state regularly. Nutritional interventions should be considered in better nourished groups, as well as in malnourished individuals, to prevent a decline in nutritional state.
Keywords: MNA; Malnutrition; Nursing homes; Nutritional status.
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