March 27, 2017
by University of North Carolina Health Care
UNC School of Medicine researchers led a study to determine risk factors associated with malnutrition among older adults receiving care in the emergency department. The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, suggests that food scarcity and poor oral health are major risk factors for malnutrition that leads an older adult — already at high risk of functional decline, decreased quality of life, and increased mortality — to land in the emergency department.
Tim Platts-Mills, MD, senior author of the study, said, “For patients who don’t have enough food at home, the solution is pretty obvious and likely much less expensive than paying for the medical care that results from malnutrition: there is an existing national system of food assistance programs, such as Meals on Wheels, and we believe we can use the emergency department to link patients in need to those programs.”
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