Compilation of existing European policies and guidelines regarding malnutrition in the elderly: a questionnaire based study
26 April 2019 (online)
Policies and current practice for screening and treatment of malnutrition in older persons vary widely across Europe. Presently, little is known about the specific situation in different countries. This questionnaire based study aimed to give an overview of policies in regard to screening and treatment of age related malnutrition across Europe.
The web questionnaire was developed to map policies and guidelines of malnutrition in older persons in three different health-care settings (hospitals, nursing homes and community) in Europe. To cover all relevant issues in the web survey a modified two-round Delphi consultation process with 24 international experts was used. The personalised mail invitation to complete the online-questionnaire was sent to 95 specialists in 31 European countries (28 EU countries plus Switzerland, Island and Norway) between December 2016 and November 2017.
19 (61,3%) of the 31 target countries completed the questionnaire – 15 (48,4%) countries for all three settings (community, hospitals, nursing homes), two (6,5%) countries for two settings (hospitals and nursing homes) and two (6,5%) countries for hospitals. In regard to existing laws and policy documents concerning screening and treatment of malnutrition in the elderly 7 (36,8%) countries answered “no”, 4 (21,1%) “yes”, 5 (26,3%) countries stated either screening or treatment documents and for 3 (15,8%) countries documents were setting dependant.
This study indicates that political awareness for malnutrition in the elderly is existent in a few countries but a common thread across Europe is missing.