Interventions to prevent and treat malnutrition in older adults to be carried out by nurses: A systematic review
SourceJournal of Clinical Nursing, 29, 11-12, (2020), pp. 1883-1902
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Clinical Nursing
SubjectRadboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To identify interventions to prevent and treat malnutrition in older adults, which can be integrated in nursing care, and to evaluate the effects of these interventions on outcomes related to malnutrition. BACKGROUND: Older adults are at great risk for malnutrition, which can lead to a number of serious health problems. Nurses have an essential role in nutritional care for older adults. Due to a lack of evidence for nursing interventions, adequate nursing nutritional care still lags behind. DESIGN: Systematic review. METHOD: We searched for and included randomised controlled trials on interventions, which can be integrated in nursing care for older adults, to prevent and treat malnutrition. We assessed the risk of bias with the Cochrane tool and evidence for outcomes with the GRADE. The PRISMA statement was followed for reporting. RESULTS: We included 21 studies of which 14 studies had a high risk of bias. Identified interventions were oral nutritional supplements, food/fluid fortification or enrichment, dietary counselling and educational interventions. In evaluating the effects of these interventions on 11 outcomes related to malnutrition, significant and nonsignificant effects were found. We graded the certainty of evidence as very low to moderate. CONCLUSION: Although slight effects were found in protein intake and body mass index, there is no convincing evidence about the effectiveness of the four identified interventions. There seems no harm in using these interventions, although it should be kept in mind that the evidence is sparse. Therefore, there is a need for high-quality research in building evidence for interventions in nursing nutritional care. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Nurses can safely provide oral nutritional supplements and food/fluid fortification or enrichment, and give dietary counselling and education to older adults, as they are well placed to lead the essential processes of nutritional care to older adults.
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