The influence of protein-calorie malnutrition on quality of life in nursing homes

Neva L. Crogan, Alice Pasvogel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

160 Scopus citations


Background. Up to 85% of the older adults living in our nation's nursing homes suffer from protein-calorie malnutrition (PCM). Early identification and treatment of PCM can reduce or prevent hospital stays, reduce complications, and decrease mortality. We describe the influence of PCM on quality of life in nursing homes, using archived data from the Minimum Data Set. Methods. The study was guided by the Quality Nutrition Outcomes - Long Term Care Model, which posits a pathway whereby organizational issues influence nutritional status, consisting of body mass index (BMI), seru albumin levels, and prealbumin levels, and subsequent quality of life, morbidity, and health care utilization. A cross-sectional design was used to analyze Minimum Data Set assessment data already collected from a previous study. The sample for this analysis was 311 nursing home residents, aged 65 years or older, who lived in three nursing homes in eastern Washington. Results. Of the participants, 38.6% were malnourished. PCM (measured by BMI) influenced quality of life for these residents in that there was a significant relationship between BMI and functional status (eating, personal hygiene, and toilet use) and BMI and psychosocial well-being (initiative or involvement, unsettled relationships, and past roles). Depression was not a significant indicator of low BMI in these nursing home residents. Conclusions. Low BMI, indicating PCM, was found to negatively influence quality of life in this study. Understanding the relationship between quality of life and PCM could lead to improved quality of life for older adults in nursing homes and guide future innovative intervention studies aimed at preventing PCM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-164
Number of pages6
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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