Malnutrition in the Elderly: A Multifactorial Failure to Thrive



Carol Evans, RNP, MS, MA

Summer 2005 - Volume 9 Number 3

https://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/05-056

Poor nutritional status and malnutrition in the elderly population are important areas of concern. Malnutrition and unintentional weight loss contribute to progressive decline in health, reduced physical and cognitive functional status, increased utilization of health care services, premature institutionalization, and increased mortality. Nonetheless, many health care practitioners inadequately address the multifactorial issues that contribute to nutritional risk and to malnutrition. A common assumption is that nutritional deficiencies are an inevitable consequence of aging and disease and that intervention for these deficiencies are only minimally effective. Nutritional assessment and treatment should be a routine part of care for all elderly persons, whether in the outpatient setting, acute care hospital, or long-term institutional care setting.

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