Is it possible to increase weight and maintain the protein status of debilitated elderly residents of nursing homes?

Yaakov Levinson, Tzvi Dwolatzky, Aviva Epstein, Bella Adler, Leon Epstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background. The care of elderly persons in chronic care nursing wards is generally complicated by nutritional problems such as weight loss and worsening protein status. An inability or refusal of the patient to consume enough food often necessitates the use of expensive commercial formulas for nutritional support. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the use of an in-house (high-protein, milk-based) low-cost formula with added minerals and vitamins for total nutritional support would be effective in maintaining weight and protein status of patients in the long term. Methods. Participants were recruited from five nursing care units of a single geriatric facility. All residents who required formula feeding were followed prospectively. The formula was provided either as a pudding or a milkshake for oral feeding or as a liquid for tube feeding and served as the sole source of nutrition. Data were collected regarding the participants' weight (monthly), serum albumin level (periodically), and the manner of formula administration (oral, nasogastric, or gastrostomy tube). Results. One hundred forty-three participants who received this formula were followed for a maximum period of 6 years. Mean weight increased by 5 kg during the first year and remained stable thereafter. Those participants who died within 6 months had no increase in weight. The long-term mean serum albumin level of all participants was an acceptable 4 g/dL. Conclusion. The long-term use of an inexpensive in-house formula for total nutritional support increased weight and maintained serum albumin levels in most of the chronically ill elderly nursing care patients who participated in the study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)878-881
Number of pages4
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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