Malnutrition In Acutely Unwell Hospitalized Elderly - "The Skeletons Are Still Rattling In The Hospital Closet"

Yogesh Sharma, Campbell Thompson, Rashmi Shahi, Paul Hakendorf, Michelle Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Malnutrition is common in hospitalized patients with prevalence rates of up to 30% in Australian hospitals with adverse consequences for both the patients and health care services. Despite formulation of nutritional screening protocols, not all hospitalized patients get nutritional screening. Real life screening rates of hospitalized elderly patients are unknown. Aim: The present study explored nutrition screening rate in acutely unwell elderly patients admitted in a large tertiary hospital and how these patients fared depending upon their nutrition status. Methods: A prospective cross-sectional study involving 205 general medical patients ≥60years recruited between November 2014 and November 2015. The number of patients who missed nutrition screening were noted and all patients underwent nutritional assessment by a qualified dietitian using PG-SGA and quality of life was measured using EQ-5D 5L. A survival curve was plotted and multivariate cox proportional hazard model was used to adjust for confounders. Results: Only 99 (49.7%) patients underwent nutritional screening. One hundred and six (53.5%) patients were confirmed as malnourished by PG-SGA. Malnourished patients had significantly longer length of hospital stay and had worse quality of life. Mortality was significantly higher in malnourished patients at one year (23 (21.7%) vs 4 (4.3%); pOpenSPiltSPi0.001) and cox proportional hazard model suggests that malnutrition significantly affects survival even after adjustment for confounders like age, sex, Charlson index and polypharmacy. Conclusion: This study confirms that nutrition screening is still suboptimal in elderly hospitalized patients with adverse consequences and suggests need for review of policies to improve screening practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1210-1215
Number of pages6
JournalThe Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging
Issue number10
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • hospitalized elderly
  • Malnutrition
  • nutrition screening


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