Older medical patients are a vulnerable group with multiple nutritional problems. Due to the ageing process appetite is reduced and hence nutrient and fluid intake decreases. Additionally the older medical patient is characterized by stress metabolism. This results in nutritionally related complications as accelerates loss of function and muscle mass and decreased immune function. 

Nutritional intake is related to various aspects of physiology and social and cultural settings. This is why we think that nutritional problems are best approached multi-disciplinary. Undernourishment can be present at admission or it may develop during hospitalization or after discharge. Therefore, nutritional problems need to be treated when the patient is an in-patient and the treatment needs to follow the patient to the home setting. To capture patients at risk of nutritional related problems we believe that the Acute Medical Emergency Department is an essential setting. 

Main focus 

Our main focus in on the effect of nutritional intake during hospitalization and following discharge. Interventions range from optimizing in between meals to weight-bearing training in combination with multimodal nutritional interventions. Furthermore, we look into both the patients perspectives of nutritional care and the health professional's knowledge and handling of nutritional issues in patient care.

On-going studies

A cohort study: FAM-CPH. Investigation of the prevalence of undernutrition and its risk factors among 127 acutely admitted old medical patients and identification of the most suiting nutrition screening tool for a transitional nutrition intervention. Data collection and analysis is ongoing. Project leader: Aino Leegaard Andersen.

OptiNAM- OPTImization of Nutrition and Medication. Development and trial of a transitional and multimodal nutritional intervention on quality of life (primary endpoint), functional ability, nutritional status and inflammation among acutely admitted old medical patients. A cost utility analysis will be performed. Intervention design is in progress. Project leader: Aino Leegaard Andersen & Morten Baltzer Houlind.

Time to eat study. Patients with lower extremity amputation suffer from increased stress metabolism, high risk of postoperative complications and mortality. The aim is to describe the nutritional intake before and after lower extremity amputation and the association between dietary intake and the level of inflammatory biomarkers. The study is a longitudinal observational study. Data on nutritional status, dietary intake and inflammatory biomarkers (suPAR, CRP, leucocytes) and eating pattern are collected prospectively from 42 patients before and on day 1, 3, 5, and 10 after the amputation. Identifier: NCT02540252. Project manager: Pia Søe Jensen.

LEA-experiences. A qualitative, explorative study aiming to explore hospital patients´ perspectives on food, dietary counselling, and their experiences of nutritional care following lower extremity amputation. The study uses an inductive content analysis of semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of 17 people over 50 years of age. Project manager: Pia Søe Jensen.