THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WEIGHT STATUS AND THE NEED FOR HEALTH CARE ASSISTANCE IN NURSING HOME RESIDENTS
A.M.Beck, K. Damkjær, S.F. Simmons
J Aging Res Clin Practice 2012;1(2):173-177
Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between underweight status and weight loss events on the need for health care assistance among a sample of Danish nursing home residents over 12-months. Design: Longitudinal, repeated measures design with three data collection points at baseline (2004) and six and 12 months post baseline. Setting: 11 Danish nursing home facilities. Participants: 441 Danish nursing home residents over the age of 65. Measurements: Resident Assessment Instrument (RAI-NH) data were abstracted for each participant at each of three data collection points. RAI-NH data related to facility staff ratings of residents’ physical functioning (Activities of Daily Living, ADL) status and their need for health care staff assistance related to ADLs were collected at each time point in addition to the resident weight status and experience of weight loss according to three criterion (i.e., > 1%, >5% or >10% of baseline body weight at 6 or 12 months) and Body Mass Index (BMI) values. Results: Low BMI (< 18.5) and weight loss were both significantly associated with the need for staff assistance with ADLs during a 12-month timeframe. Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that elderly nursing home residents with a low BMI or weight loss may add to the substantial and costly burden of nursing home care due to the associated need for higher levels of ADL assistance.