Malnutrition is defined as an imbalance of nutrients caused by either and excess intake of nutrients or a nutritional deficit. Malnutrition is becoming increasingly more common among the elderly population; in fact, malnutrition is one of the major geriatric syndromes and frailty factor. It is not only a sign of disease, but also their presence increases the morbidity, hospital stay, institutionalization and mortality due to concomitant diseases. Up to 2/3 parts of malnutrition cases are due to reversible causes. Nutritional intervention is crucial associated etiological treatment to reverse the malnutrition situation in some diseases.
In Spain, 12% of the population suffer malnutrition; 70% of them are elderly and the prevalence of the malnutrition vary depending on the care intervention level of the elderly patient: 2% in healthy elderly in public community homes, 5-8% of the elderly at home, 50% of the sick elderly institutionalized, up to 44% of hospitalized elderly for medical pathology and up to 65% of the hospitalized elderly for surgical pathology (data from Sociedad Española de Geriatría y Gerontología SEGG, 2006). In other words, elderly is the group of population with highest malnutrition prevalence in developed countries and especially among hospitalized and in long-term care homes.
Not only malnutrition is associated with an increased risk of morbidity and mortality, but also optimal nutritional status is needed to maintain quality of life of elderly in terms of vitality, functional ability even if there are other co-morbidities.
In this scenario, health professionals are required to realize the importance of periodic and proper assessments of the nutritional status of the elderly, and to prevent a malnutrition state using simple, easy-to-use, fast, economic, standardized and sensitive tools to detect all or almost all patients at risk.
In this sense, Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) is the most frequently used screening test for malnutrition in elderly populations in Europe. However, there is no standard protocol or standard diagnostic criterion and in practice there remains for studies evaluating the independent effect of nutritional status on survival, specially screening, tracking and intervention in community care homes.
Geroresidencias S.L. as a collaborating partner manages 17 Long-Term Care Homes and Daily Care Homes for elderly with 2100 users and 585 users of assisted living services in supportive housing (2013 data). This supposes more than 2600 potential beneficiaries of the screening and nutrition intervention programme.
The aim of this project is to use a cohort study to examine MNA such a tool to screening malnutrition in the general elderly population in Geroresidencias scenario as a perfect environment to spread the implementation and support routine of standardized screening tools of older patients.
For this purpose, it will be developed both a free Android application, NutriPro, based on MNA test, to be deployed in tablets in a simple and easy way with multilingual support to assure further scalability to the whole Europe; and a nutritional intervention programme in order to correctly intervene in malnutrition detected cases through a set of customized actions.
Early detection of malnutrition is very important to start early nutrition plan that allows us to avoid related complications. The generalized use of MNA as a standard and validated tool in a community homes environment as Geroresidencias, will allow to make a rapid assessment of the nutritional status for the fragile elderly and to intervene in this situation with the customized nutrition programme developed within the project.
NutriPro project is expected that impacts positively in the routine screening of nutrition status of the target group defined, elderly institutionalized in a long-term care home or daily monitored at home by Geroresidencias and in last term in their quality of life.
The project is funded by
European Commission – Directorate General Health and Food Safety