BACKGROUND: Malnutrition is frequently observed in older adults and is associated with hospital readmissions, length of stay (LOS), and mortality in discharged patients.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate effects of six-month nutrition therapy on hospital readmissions, LOS, mortality and need for long-term care residence 1-, 6-, 12- and 18-months post-discharge in older Icelandic adults.
DESIGN: Secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial.
PARTICIPANTS: Participants (>65 years) were randomised into intervention (n=53) and control (n=53) before discharge from a geriatric unit.
INTERVENTION: The intervention group received nutrition therapy based on the Nutrition Care Process, including home visits, phone calls, freely delivered energy- and protein-rich foods and supplements for six months after hospital discharge.
MEASUREMENTS: The Icelandic electronic hospital registry was accessed to gain information on emergency room visits (ER), hospital readmissions, LOS, mortality and need for long-term care residence.
RESULTS: The intervention group had a lower proportion of participants with at least one readmission compared to control (1 month: 1.9% vs 15.8%, P=0.033; 6 months: 25.0% vs 46.2%, P=0.021; 12 months: 38.5% vs 55.8%, P=0.051; and 18 months: 51.9% vs 65.4%, P=0.107). There was also a lower total number of readmissions per participant (1 month: 0.02 vs 0.19, P=0.015; 6 month: 0.33 vs 0.77, P=0.014; 0.62 vs 1.12, P=0.044) and a shorter LOS (1 month: 0.02 vs 0.92, P=0.013; 6 months: 2.44 vs 13.21; P=0.006; 12 months: 5.83 vs 19.40, P=0.034; 18 months: 10.42 vs 26.00, P=0.033) in the intervention group. However, there were no differences between groups in ER visits, mortality and need for long-term care residence.
CONCLUSION: A six-month nutrition therapy in older Icelandic adults discharged from hospital reduced hospital readmissions and shortens LOS at the hospital up to 18-months post-discharge. However, it did neither affect mortality, ER, nor need of long-term care residence in this group.