Elderly Patients and Malnutrition - Dissertation Example

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This paper provides an overview of current studies and approaches to fight malnutrition among elderly patients in hospitals. The overwhelming cases of malnutrition in the UK have led the government and health care professionals to dedicate serious efforts to alleviate the prevalence and risk especially among the elderly. …
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Elderly Patients and Malnutrition
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Download file to see previous pages Nevertheless, as previous reports establish, hospital services are insufficient to meet the nutritional needs of ill patients. Given the present scenario, the government, along with health care professionals, faces a serious problem of alleviating the risks associated with malnutrition in the elderly population. Several proposals have been made in the past to address the current issue but the problem remains unresolved. It is therefore important to reassess current approaches to nursing practice and further expand research in the field of elderly care. To date, experts have identified proper screening and management as basic responses to the current problem. However, the diverse needs of elderly patients in the hospital setting demand comprehensive approaches and resources in the nursing practice. Additionally, the availability of resources is another question. For such reasons, nurses assigned in hospitals should have a wide background of the issue and the solutions to the problem. Basic information such as the causes, symptoms, and risks of malnutrition are therefore imperative and should be considered common knowledge in the nursing practice. To address the current issue, nurses in the hospital setting should, in the first place, be aware of the symptoms and causes of malnutrition. A working definition of malnutrition should lead every health care practitioner to be aware of the problems associated with malnutrition and to be sensitive to the symptoms at-risk patients have. According to Peters (1996), malnutrition is a ‘deficiency state which occurs when inadequate proteins, calories, or specific nutrients are ingested to meet an individual’s nutritional requirements’ (p.45). Malnutrition can cause varying adverse effects on...
This paper approves that the current literature offers a number of screening tools and interventions to malnutrition. Among screening tools are the MUST, GNRI, and Nursing Nutritional Checklist. Commonly, these screening tools aim to guide nurses on proper screening of at-risk patients. They also ensure communication between the nurse and the patient, giving way for patients to express their needs and apprehensions relating to hospitalisation. Screening tools also serve as guide for making recommendations to doctors, dieticians, and other health care providers. The screening tools found in the literature obviously vary in structure but they commonly aim at securing information about the patient.
This paper makes a conclusion that pharmacologic therapy and giving supplements are the most successful interventions based on the literature. However, it should be clear that pharmacologic therapy was often used in the past for preventing anorexia among terminally ill patients. Therefore, future research should examine the effectiveness of the intervention to elderly patients in general, including those who are not suffering from diseases. Nevertheless, extra care should be taken when administering drugs to patients, making sure of the absence of side effects.
Exercise, educating patients and their families, and minimising dietary restrictions likewise emerge as other alternatives to pharmacologic therapy in fighting the problem of malnutrition in the field of elderly care. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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