Br J Hosp Med (Lond). 2020 Sep 2;81(9):1-8. doi: 10.12968/hmed.2020.0393. Epub 2020 Sep 24.
Malnutrition is the disturbance of normal form or function, arising from the deficiency of one or more nutrients, and is a significant issue in the older adult population. Despite their reduced energy requirements, older patients need the same protein intake and micronutrients as younger patients, but age-related changes may impact the ability to meet these requirements. The cause of malnutrition in individuals is likely to be multifactorial and can therefore be complex to manage. Adequate nutrition is important for both community dwelling patients and inpatients, as malnutrition increases the risk of complications and the likelihood of needing residential or nursing home care on discharge. This article discusses the risk factors for the development of malnutrition in older patients and the different nutritional assessment tools available. Management strategies for optimising nutrition can be divided into systems and supplementation. With an ageing population, most doctors will inevitably become increasingly involved with treating older patients and this article highlights the need to consider a patient's nutritional status. Nutrition should be considered during every ward round and the multidisciplinary team as a whole should maintain an awareness and responsibility for managing malnutrition.