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Abstract

At hospital discharge, many older patients are at health and nutritional risk, indicating a requirement for ongoing care. We aim to evaluate the effects of comprehensive individualized care by geriatric-experienced care professionals, the so-called “pathfinders”, on nutritional status (NS) of older patients after discharge. A total of 244 patients (median age 81.0 years) without major cognitive impairment were randomized to Intervention Group (IG: 123) or Control Group (CG: 121) for a 12-month intervention, with up to 7 home visits and 11 phone calls. The comprehensive individualized care contained nutritional advice, when required. The intervention effect after three (T3m) and 12 (T12m) months on change in MNA-SF (Mini Nutritional Assessment-Short Form) and BMI was evaluated by Univariate General Linear Model (ANOVA), adjusted for age, sex, living situation, and activities of daily living. At baseline, mean MNA-SF did not differ between IG and CG (10.7 ± 2.6 vs. 11.2 ± 2.5, p = 0.148); however, mean BMI was significantly lower in IG compared to CG (27.2 ± 4.7 vs. 28.8 ± 4.8 kg/m2, p = 0.012). At T3m, mean change did not differ significantly between the groups, neither in MNA-SF (0.6; 95%CI: −0.1–1.3 vs. 0.4; −0.3–1.1, p = 0.708) nor in BMI (−0.2; −0.6–0.1 vs. 0.0; −0.4–0.4 kg/m2, p = 0.290). At T12m, mean change of MNA-SF was significantly higher in IG than in CG (1.4; 0.5–2.3 vs. 0.0; −0.9–0.8; p = 0.012). BMI remained unchanged in IG, whereas it slightly declined in CG (0.0; −0.7–0.6 vs. −0.9; −1.6–−0.2 kg/m2, p = 0.034). We observed rather small effects of comprehensive individualized care by pathfinders on NS in older patients 12 months after discharge. For more pronounced effects nutrition expertise might be needed.