To examine nutrition status and to explore risk factors for malnutrition in an urban veterans' long-term care (LTC) facility in Western Canada to determine whether nutrition should be a higher priority for managers, physicians, and staff.
A descriptive cross-sectional study design was used.
A LTC facility for Canadian veterans with a resident population of 120 adults who are 65 years or older.
The sample consisted of 55 residents. Mean age was 86.5 years for the 50 men and 88.4 years for the 5 women.
The Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) tool was used to examine the nutrition status. Selected items and scales from the Minimum Data Set-Resident Assessment Instrument (MDS-RAI 2.0) were used to substitute for 10 MNA items.
Six (11%) residents were assessed as well nourished. Thirty-two (58%) residents were considered at risk for malnutrition and 17 (31%) were rated malnourished. A linear regression model revealed that malnutrition was associated with depression (P = .002), instability in health (P = .005), and severity of dementia (P = .011).
Most residents were found to be at risk or actually malnourished. Analyses of the results indicate that managers, physicians, and staff need to focus on residents with depression and dementia, and those whose health is unstable. Ethical considerations are important in choosing appropriate interventions because many LTC residents are at an end-of-life stage. Effective nutrition interventions (eg, adding resources to support residents during meals, changing environmental factors) exist but what has not been well investigated are the methods for translating such knowledge into practice.