Objectives: To determine the prevalence of malnutrition and investigate nutritional issues in a sample of older people living in residential aged care facilities (RACFs).
Method: This study forms the descriptive component of a pretest post-test designed study conducted in eight RACFs. The Subject Global Assessment tool was used to determine the prevalence of malnutrition in 350 residents.
Results: Nearly 70% of residents were women and 79.4% of all residents were classified as high care. Half the residents were well nourished (50.5%) with 43.1% moderately malnourished and 6.4% severely malnourished. Prevalence of malnutrition was significantly higher for residents receiving higher level care (odds ratio (OR) = 2.9 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.7-5.2; P <0.001)) and older than 90 years (OR = 3.0 (95% CI: 1.8-5.1; P <0.001)). Of the residents considered to be malnourished, very few (17.8%) had been seen by a dietitian in the past 6 months or were receiving commercial supplements (29.2%).
Conclusions: There is a need for systematic, coordinated and multidisciplinary approaches to nutritional care for older people in residential care.