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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Phyllis Gaspar


functional assessment of older people, nursing home patient requirments, nursing home patient physiology


Studies regarding nutritional status among the elderly residing in long-term care facilities have shown a wide range of results. Estimates of the extent of malnutrition range from 23% to 85%. Although nutrition in the elderly residing in long-term care facilities has been studied by many authors, few have focused on the association of nutritional intake and functional ability. The purpose of this study was two fold; 1) to determine the nutritional intake of the elderly residing in along-term care facility, and 2) to determine the association between nutritional intake of the elderly and their physical functioning.
Thirty-nine subjects residing in a long-term care facility in a metropolitan area in Northwestern Iowa were observed for two 24 hour periods. Food and fluids ingested by the subjects were recorded and entered into the Food Processor II analysis system. Data regarding the subject's functional ability was obtained from the Minimum Data Set. The Norton At-Risk for Pressure Sores Scale was also used to determine the subject's general functional ability.
The intake of a few of the subjects fell below the seventy-five percentile of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for the common nutrients of calories, protein, and carbohydrates. Only four of the thirty-nine (10%) subjects had intake of nutrients below the 75% level for caloric intake and five subjects (13%) had protein intake below this level. The intake of six subjects (15%) were below the 75% of the RDA for carbohydrates. The mean dietary intake of the subjects in this study fell below the seventy-five percentile for only three nutrients. These nutrients were polyunsaturated fat, pantolthinic and copper.
Findings of this study show that there is a significant association between the subject's nutritional intake and the functions from the Minimum Data Set of bed mobility, transfer ability, locomotion, and dressing. No significant association was found with the variables of eating, toilet use, personal hygiene, and bathing. Also, no association between nutrient intake and age, length of stay, and Norton At-Risk for Pressure Sore Scores was found.
Although the nutritional intake of the subjects in this study appear adequate, based on the current RDA, it is necessary for health care providers to be aware of factors which may influence the nutritional status of the elderly. Certain levels of functional ability appear to be factors associated to adequate nutritional intake. Continued research into the association of functional ability and nutritional intake will create a greater understanding of the health care needs of the elderly.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Older people -- Functional assessment
Nursing home patients -- Nutrition -- Requirements
Nursing home patients -- Physiology



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 1994 Joyce Graves. All rights reserved