Nutritional Screening and Dietitian Consultation Rates in a Geriatric Evaluation and Management Unit

Nutr Diet. 2018 Feb;75(1):11-16. doi: 10.1111/1747-0080.12391. Epub 2017 Nov 22.


Aim: Nutritional screening may not always lead to intervention. The present study aimed to determine: (i) the rate of nutritional screening in hospitalised older adults; (ii) whether nutritional screening led to dietitian consultation and (iii) factors associated with malnutrition.

Methods: In this prospective study of patients aged ≥70 years admitted to a Geriatric Evaluation and Management Unit (GEMU), malnutrition was screened for using the Mini Nutritional Assessment Short Form (MNA-SF) and identified using the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA).

Results: Of the 172 patients participating in the study, 53 (30.8%) patients were malnourished, and 84 (48.8%) were at risk of malnutrition. Mean (SD) age was 85.2 (6.4 years), with 131 patients (76.2%) female. Nutritional screening was performed for all patients; however, it was incomplete in 59 (34.3%) because of omission of the anthropometric measurement. Overall, 62 (36.0%) of the total number of patients were seen by the dietitian, which included 26 (49%) of malnourished patients, 27 (32%) of at-risk patients and 9 (26%) of the well-nourished patients. No patients lost >1% of body weight during GEMU stay. Malnourished patients were more likely to be frail, have poor appetite, depression, and have lower levels of: albumin, cognition, physical function, grip strength and quality of life.

Conclusions: The full benefits of nutritional screening by MNA-SF may not be realised if it does not result in malnourished patients receiving a dietitian consultation. However, it is possible that enrichment of the foodservice with high protein/high-energy options minimised patient weight loss in the GEMU.

Keywords: aged 80 and over; geriatric assessment/methods; malnutrition/diagnosis; nutrition assessment.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Homes for the Aged
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malnutrition / diagnosis*
  • Malnutrition / psychology
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Nutrition Assessment*
  • Nutritional Status
  • Nutritionists*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Risk Factors