Nutrition screenings should be regular part of geriatric health assessment

July 3, 2014, American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition

As older adults typically have one or more chronic health conditions that can affect dietary intake, malnutrition has been identified as a serious problem in older adults. This has given rise to the recommendation that nutrition screenings be a mandatory part of the comprehensive geriatric analysis (CGA).

The CGA, first developed in the 1930s, is a multidimensional diagnostic process that looks at a frail elderly person's medical, psychosocial, and functional capabilities in order to develop an overall plan for treatment and follow-up. While it has been used across health settings, the CGA is typically used in a geriatric specialty unit by a team that includes physicians, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, therapists, and social workers.

In a special review article published today in the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition's (A.S.P.E.N.) Nutrition in Clinical Practice journal, Dr. Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili, an Associate Professor of Nursing at Drexel University, examines each component of the CGA and outlines how nutrition screenings would fit into each individual domain: physical/medical, mental, functional, and social.

Dr. DiMaria-Ghalili notes that healthcare providers should look for signs of malnutrition, such as including loss of subcutaneous fat, muscle loss, and fluid accumulation, as part of the physical examination portion of the CGA. In regards to mental health status, she identifies how changes in cognition and dementia can affect nutrition.

In the examination of the functioning of older adults, Dr. DiMaria-Ghalili highlights that malnutrition leads to a loss of muscle strength and mass, which will affect a patient's functional status. As for older adults' social domains (social networks and economic status), she points out that on fixed and limited incomes often need to make decisions regarding paying for medications, housing costs, and food purchases, leading them to purchase food that is cheaper, less nutritious, and less healthy or skip meals altogether.

Beyond identifying potential nutrition problems, Dr. DiMaria-Ghalili stresses that any problems identified should be addressed and interventions implemented in a timely fashion. For this to be successful, she encourages the delivery and management of nutrition interventions be undertaken using a team approach, involving all of the patient's healthcare providers, including doctors, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists and social workers.

Explore further: Multidimensional frailty score helps predict postoperative outcomes in older adults

Related Stories

Multidimensional frailty score helps predict postoperative outcomes in older adults

May 7, 2014
A multidimensional frailty score may help predict postoperative outcomes in older adults.

Survey finds 'significant gap' in detection of malnutrition in Canadian hospital patients

June 3, 2014
A new survey of Canadian physicians shows a "significant gap" between optimal practices to detect nutrition problems in hospitalized patients and what action is actually taking place.

Modern medicine and patients' well being

July 6, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- A new study has found that although there has been an explosion in the scientific underpinning of modern medicine, gaps still remain in our knowledge when it comes to clinicians looking after patients' ...

Older adults who are frail much more likely to be food insufficient, according to national study

November 5, 2012
A national study of older Americans shows those who have limited mobility and low physical activity – scientifically categorized as "frail" – are five times more likely to report that they often don't have enough to eat, ...

Comprehensive geriatric test predicts long-term mortality

March 10, 2014
(HealthDay)—For older patients hospitalized with heart failure, a comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) score is associated with mortality over two years, according to a study published online March 4 in Circulation: ...

Researchers unveil new assessment for diagnosing malnutrition

May 3, 2012
A new systematic assessment of malnutrition, created by researchers at Penn State, will aid dietitians and other health care providers in diagnosis and treatment.

Recommended for you

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

January 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

Study reveals what sleep talkers have to say

January 12, 2018
A team of researchers with members from several institutions in France has conducted a study regarding sleep talking and has found that most sleep talking is not only negative in nature, but involves a large amount of swearing. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.