Changes in nutritional and functional status in longer stay patients admitted to a geriatric evaluation and management unit Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES:Malnutrition and functional decline are common in older inpatients admitted to subacute care settings. However the association between changes in nutritional status and relevant functional outcomes remains under-researched. This study examined changes in nutritional status, function and mobility in patients admitted to a Geriatric Evaluation and Management (GEM) unit who had a length of stay (LOS) longer than 21 days. DESIGN:A prospective, observational study. SETTING:Two GEM units at St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, Australia. PARTICIPANTS:Patients admitted to the GEM units who stayed longer than 21 days were included in the study. MEASUREMENTS:Patients were assessed on admission and prior to discharge using the Subjective Global Assessment (SGA), Functional Independence Measure (FIM) motor domain and the Modified Elderly Mobility Scale (MEMS). RESULTS:Fifty-nine patients (Mean age 84.0 ± 7 years) met the required length of stay and were included in the study. Fifty-four per cent (n=32) were malnourished on admission (SGA B/C) and 44% (n=26) were malnourished on discharge. Twenty-two per cent (n=13) improved SGA category, 75% remained stable (n=44) and 3% deteriorated (n=2) from admission to discharge. Total Motor FIM scores significantly increased from admission to discharge in both the improved (p<0.001) and stable or deteriorated (p<0.001) nutritional status groups. Subjects who improved in nutritional status had a significantly higher MEMS score at discharge (p<0.001). CONCLUSION:On admission to the GEM unit, just over half the included patients were rated as malnourished defined by SGA category. Nearly one quarter of the sample had improved their nutritional status at the time of discharge. Improvement in nutritional status was associated with greater improvement in mobility scores. Further studies are required to investigate the effectiveness of nutrition interventions, which will inform models of care aiming to optimise nutritional, functional, and associated clinical outcomes in patients admitted to GEM units.


  • Whitley, A
  • Skliros, E
  • Graven, C
  • McIntosh, R
  • Lasry, C
  • Newsome, C
  • Bowie, A

publication date

  • 2017