Rebecca Antonacci is a third-year student studying psychology and health studies at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include promoting and improving health and wellbeing for older adults. She is particularly interested in the changes of nutrition status across the lifespan and how aging affects nutrition status. As well, she is interested in finding out how poor eating habits in early life impact older adult’s ability to age successfully.
Rebecca currently is a research assistant in various labs around the UofT campus. As well, she is a research assistant in the Bariatric surgery program at Toronto Western Hospital where she works with a team to conduct research on how mindfulness practices can help patients who suffer from eating disorders particularly binge eating.
Nutritional Status Changes for Seniors (65+) Transitioning Between Settings: A Scoping Review of Nutritional Risk Factors in an Institutionalized Setting
Background: Nutritional status changes are a health concern for older adults as they transfer from a community dwelling environment to a long term care facility. Changes in nutritional status occur as a result of the older adult’s having to adjust their dietary patterns to the standards set out in facilities. Although a large body of research exists on the nutrition status of seniors who are already institutionalized, there is little information on how nutrition status changes following admission.
Method: Using the methodology outlined by Arksey and O’Malley (2005) database searches were conducted of CINAHL, Medline, Ageline and Web of Science yielding 1000+ articles. Abstracts were then refined to include studies taking place in North America following 2004, with nine studies meeting inclusion criteria.
Results: Analysis of the literature determined that the primary reasons for nutritional status change was less food being available, and the food that was available being deficient in key vitamins such as folate and vitamin B. In addition, nutritional screening tools were found to be inadequate to detect early signs of malnutrition upon admission.
Conclusion: Findings from the literature can inform practitioners about the importance of taking a holistic approach when analyzing nutrition status to have a better understanding of the senior’s health and consider how medication interactions may impact absorption of vitamins. As well, the literature can inform future policy decisions to increase funding so long term care facilities can afford more nutritious and readily available food. Finally, suggestions for further research include looking at how entry to a long term care home can impact nutritional status for older adults with a cognitive disability.