Nutrition Therapy For Quality Of Life In Older adults After Hospital Discharge
This randomized controlled trial found that hospitalized Icelandic older adults who were at nutritional risk after discharge had better outcomes when provided with counseling and free food.
Malnourishment is common among vulnerable older adults and unsurprisingly leads to poor health outcomes. Malnourishment in this population is also strongly associated with lower cognitive function and lower mental well-being.
Malnourished older adults are more likely to be diagnosed with depression, and older adults with dementia are frequently underweight. This study investigated whether providing free food and personal dietary counseling to older adults leaving the hospital could have an effect on their post-discharge physical and mental health outcomes.
This 6-month randomized controlled trial included 106 Icelandic community-dwelling seniors who were hospitalized on geriatric units and were evaluated to be at nutritional risk after discharge. The participants were randomized into two groups. After discharge to the community, the control group received the current standard of care; they were given a nutrition pamphlet and encouraged to order from Meals on Wheels (a paid meal delivery service for people with age-related or medical conditions). The treatment group received five home visits and three phone calls from a clinical nutritionist and had free energy-rich and protein-rich food delivered once per week (a daily meal to reheat and two daily snacks, consisting of yogurt and a nutrition-supplement drink).
Before leaving the hospital and again after the 24-week intervention, the participants were assessed for health-related quality of life (HRQL), self-rated health, cognitive function, depressive symptoms, body weight, and dietary intake.