Unintended Weight Loss in Older Adults

UWL: Food, Appetite and Environment (2009)

Citation:

Simmons SF, Lam HY, Rao G, Schnelle JF. Family members' preferences for nutrition interventions to improve nursing home residents' oral food and fluid intake. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2003; 51: 69-74. 

PubMed ID: 12534848
 
Study Design:
Cross-Sectional Study
Class:
D - Click here for explanation of classification scheme.
Quality Rating:
Neutral NEUTRAL: See Quality Criteria Checklist below.
Research Purpose:

To further address what interventions nursing home providers should consider based on an assessment of family members' preferences for nutrition interventions. 

Inclusion Criteria:

Randomly selected family members of residents in three southern California nursing homes were mailed a survey if:

  • Residents were long-stay (non-Medicare)
  • They were free of a feeding tube
  • They were due a Minimum Data Set (MDS) assessment within a given month.
Exclusion Criteria:

Residents were excluded if:

  • They had a feeding tube
  • They were not due a MDS review in a given month
  • They were short-stay (Medicare) patients.
Description of Study Protocol:

Recruitment

Methods not described.

Design

Cross-sectional study using a mailed survey to responsible family members for randomly selected residents of three California skilled nursing homes. 

Statistical Analysis

Preference ratings were analyzed using the method of graded-paired comparisons. 

 

Data Collection Summary:

Timing of Measurements

Single measurement.

Description of Actual Data Sample:
  • Initial N: 219
  • Attrition (final N): 105 with complete data; 90 females, 15 males 
  • Age: Mean 89.9±5.8 years
  • Ethnicity: 97% white
  • Other relevant demographics: 86% female; mean length of stay 22.9±27.2 months
  • Anthropometrics: 22% had BMI less than 20; 79% had orders for a modified diet; 63% had orders for a nutritional supplement
  • Location: Southern California.

 

Summary of Results:

Standardized Preference Scale Score for Each Nutrition Intervention

 

Nutrition Intervention
Standardized Preference Scale Score
Improve quality of food
 1.20
Improve quality of feeding assistance
 0.67
Provide multiple small meals and snacks
 0.49
Place resident in preferred dining location
-0.12
Provide nutritional supplements
-0.31
Provide an appetite stimulant medication
-1.94
 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Findings

Fifty-nine percent of family members responded "no" when asked if they would consider a feeding tube for their relative if they were to develop a problem with oral food and fluid intake and all approaches described in the table were unsuccessful in getting them to eat or drink more.   

Author Conclusion:

Family members prefer that other nutrition interventions be attempted before the use of oral supplements or pharmacological approaches. Family members perceive a need for intervnetion when residents consume, on average, only half of the food and fluid items provided during mealtime. 

Funding Source:
Reviewer Comments:

The authors mentioned randomizing participants in the introduction, but gave no details of the randomization procedure. Limited to residents in southern California. 

Quality Criteria Checklist: Primary Research
Relevance Questions
  1. Would implementing the studied intervention or procedure (if found successful) result in improved outcomes for the patients/clients/population group? (Not Applicable for some epidemiological studies) ???
  2. Did the authors study an outcome (dependent variable) or topic that the patients/clients/population group would care about? Yes
  3. Is the focus of the intervention or procedure (independent variable) or topic of study a common issue of concern to dieteticspractice? Yes
  4. Is the intervention or procedure feasible? (NA for some epidemiological studies) Yes
 
Validity Questions
1. Was the research question clearly stated? Yes
  1.1. Was (were) the specific intervention(s) or procedure(s) [independent variable(s)] identified? N/A
  1.2. Was (were) the outcome(s) [dependent variable(s)] clearly indicated? N/A
  1.3. Were the target population and setting specified? Yes
2. Was the selection of study subjects/patients free from bias? ???
  2.1. Were inclusion/exclusion criteria specified (e.g., risk, point in disease progression, diagnostic or prognosis criteria), and with sufficient detail and without omitting criteria critical to the study? Yes
  2.2. Were criteria applied equally to all study groups? Yes
  2.3. Were health, demographics, and other characteristics of subjects described? Yes
  2.4. Were the subjects/patients a representative sample of the relevant population? No
3. Were study groups comparable? N/A
  3.1. Was the method of assigning subjects/patients to groups described and unbiased? (Method of randomization identified if RCT) N/A
  3.2. Were distribution of disease status, prognostic factors, and other factors (e.g., demographics) similar across study groups at baseline? N/A
  3.3. Were concurrent controls or comparisons used? (Concurrent preferred over historical control or comparison groups.) N/A
  3.4. If cohort study or cross-sectional study, were groups comparable on important confounding factors and/or were preexisting differences accounted for by using appropriate adjustments in statistical analysis? N/A
  3.5. If case control study, were potential confounding factors comparable for cases and controls? (If case series or trial with subjects serving as own control, this criterion is not applicable.) ???
  3.6. If diagnostic test, was there an independent blind comparison with an appropriate reference standard (e.g., "gold standard")? N/A
4. Was method of handling withdrawals described? Yes
  4.1. Were follow-up methods described and the same for all groups? N/A
  4.2. Was the number, characteristics of withdrawals (i.e., dropouts, lost to follow up, attrition rate) and/or response rate (cross-sectional studies) described for each group? (Follow up goal for a strong study is 80%.) Yes
  4.3. Were all enrolled subjects/patients (in the original sample) accounted for? N/A
  4.4. Were reasons for withdrawals similar across groups? N/A
  4.5. If diagnostic test, was decision to perform reference test not dependent on results of test under study? N/A
5. Was blinding used to prevent introduction of bias? No
  5.1. In intervention study, were subjects, clinicians/practitioners, and investigators blinded to treatment group, as appropriate? N/A
  5.2. Were data collectors blinded for outcomes assessment? (If outcome is measured using an objective test, such as a lab value, this criterion is assumed to be met.) N/A
  5.3. In cohort study or cross-sectional study, were measurements of outcomes and risk factors blinded? N/A
  5.4. In case control study, was case definition explicit and case ascertainment not influenced by exposure status? N/A
  5.5. In diagnostic study, were test results blinded to patient history and other test results? N/A
6. Were intervention/therapeutic regimens/exposure factor or procedure and any comparison(s) described in detail? Were interveningfactors described? N/A
  6.1. In RCT or other intervention trial, were protocols described for all regimens studied? N/A
  6.2. In observational study, were interventions, study settings, and clinicians/provider described? N/A
  6.3. Was the intensity and duration of the intervention or exposure factor sufficient to produce a meaningful effect? N/A
  6.4. Was the amount of exposure and, if relevant, subject/patient compliance measured? N/A
  6.5. Were co-interventions (e.g., ancillary treatments, other therapies) described? N/A
  6.6. Were extra or unplanned treatments described? N/A
  6.7. Was the information for 6.4, 6.5, and 6.6 assessed the same way for all groups? N/A
  6.8. In diagnostic study, were details of test administration and replication sufficient? N/A
7. Were outcomes clearly defined and the measurements valid and reliable? N/A
  7.1. Were primary and secondary endpoints described and relevant to the question? N/A
  7.2. Were nutrition measures appropriate to question and outcomes of concern? N/A
  7.3. Was the period of follow-up long enough for important outcome(s) to occur? N/A
  7.4. Were the observations and measurements based on standard, valid, and reliable data collection instruments/tests/procedures? N/A
  7.5. Was the measurement of effect at an appropriate level of precision? N/A
  7.6. Were other factors accounted for (measured) that could affect outcomes? N/A
  7.7. Were the measurements conducted consistently across groups? N/A
8. Was the statistical analysis appropriate for the study design and type of outcome indicators? Yes
  8.1. Were statistical analyses adequately described and the results reported appropriately? N/A
  8.2. Were correct statistical tests used and assumptions of test not violated? N/A
  8.3. Were statistics reported with levels of significance and/or confidence intervals? N/A
  8.4. Was "intent to treat" analysis of outcomes done (and as appropriate, was there an analysis of outcomes for those maximally exposed or a dose-response analysis)? N/A
  8.5. Were adequate adjustments made for effects of confounding factors that might have affected the outcomes (e.g., multivariate analyses)? N/A
  8.6. Was clinical significance as well as statistical significance reported? N/A
  8.7. If negative findings, was a power calculation reported to address type 2 error? N/A
9. Are conclusions supported by results with biases and limitations taken into consideration? Yes
  9.1. Is there a discussion of findings? Yes
  9.2. Are biases and study limitations identified and discussed? Yes
10. Is bias due to study's funding or sponsorship unlikely? No
  10.1. Were sources of funding and investigators' affiliations described? Yes
  10.2. Was the study free from apparent conflict of interest? Yes