Variability of nutritional practice by geriatricians across Europe
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
European geriatric medicine
, p. 67-70
University of Antwerp
Introduction Older people are at risk of malnutrition. As this adversely affects clinical outcome, screening should be performed routinely. Our aim was to learn more about the knowledge and attitudes of geriatricians across Europe towards nutrition and their interest in receiving training. Methods A qualitative online survey of members of the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society (EUGMS) was conducted in spring 2010. It contained 47 questions using four case studies to illustrate clinical scenarios. Results Two hundred and eight responses were received from 20 countries. Twenty-six percent of the respondents had more than 25 years of experience and the majority worked in acute care. Only 20% had received any formal nutrition training, although nearly all indicated to consider nutrition when promoting healthy ageing. The majority recognised that a weight loss of 510% over the previous 6 months was indicative of malnutrition risk, whereas not, vert, similar20% use a Body Mass Index cut-off of 18.5 kg/m2 to initiate nutritional intervention. MNA® and MUST were the nutritional tools most frequently used. Adequate protein and vitamin D intake were seen as important, but knowledge regarding oral nutritional supplements was limited. The majority (63%) indicated a training need and identified E-learning modules as the preferred method. Conclusions A survey in EUGMS has identified good awareness of the relevance of nutritional status for clinical outcome, but knowledge of appropriate identification of malnutrition and intervention was suboptimal. Participants showed high interest in attending specific nutrition training. E-learning modules should be considered as a means of educating healthcare professionals involved in geriatrics.